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Wapiti 2022 going ahead - just not at Fernie’s Annex Park

Annex Park will be a construction site for half of 2022
Wapiti is returning in 2022, just not at Annex Park where it’s been held before. (Kimberley Vlasic / The Free Press)

The 2022 Wapiti Music Festival will be held somewhere other than Fernie’s Annex Park, with much-needed dike upgrade work due to close off the park between May. 1 and Oct. 31. that year.

Chantel Vincent, who is Artistic Director of the Festival said that losing the long-time venue of the event wouldn’t be stopping them from holding it in 2022.

“(The board of directors) have been touring other sites, with eyes on 2-3 locations that we’re excited about,” she said, explaining that city staff had been going out of their way to offer up alternatives since they’d learned Annex Park was off the table in early December.

“It seems to me we have a lot of city support - they want us to be able to have the festival.”

Annex Park will be a construction site for six months next year while the city raises and improves the annex dike, which according to a 2019 review, is too low. The planned works have pushed multiple private events out of the park.

Vincent said the Wapiti board fully understood the need to carry out the improvements on the dike, so were not too upset about the change of venue especially considering many of them lived in the Annex themselves.

While a decision on where the festival will be held next year hasn’t been made yet, Vincent said they were first and foremost, hoping for a location that would be similar to Annex Park.

“Our first choice is going to be something that fits the brand,” she said.

“We’re working our best to bring (attendees) that experience.”

Vincent said they were looking for locations that were walkable, easily accessible and had the ‘same feel’ as festivals past.

Planning for the event, which will take place on August 5-6 2022 is continuing, and Vincent said she had a few acts lined up already - though they won’t be announced for a while yet. Tickets for the festival will go on sale on March 1.

The 2022 Wapiti will be the 10th Wapiti Festival ever.

After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic put the festivities back, “we still get to hold our 10th birthday,” said Vincent.

READ MORE: Fernie’s Wapiti 2021 struck off the lineup, due for a comeback in 2022
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