Sunfest 2016 goes down as first-class festival

The first year of Sunfest in its new location at Meade Creek went more smoothly

The first year of Sunfest in its new location at Meade Creek went more smoothly than anybody could have expected, and as well as anyone could have hoped.

Potential massive traffic snarls, a fear expressed before the event, never materialized.

The venue was not excessively loud for those in the surrounding area.

Lake communities were not overwhelmed with boorish tourists leaving filth everywhere.

Sunfest organizers, along with community organizers, deserve a lot of credit for how well things went for the inaugural festival at Laketown Ranch.

We hope it has allayed a lot of the fears expressed by some members of the community about the use of the Laketown Ranch property to hold big events.

It’s a truly astonishing level of success for a first year. Compare, for example, to the Olympics in Rio that have just started.

The internet is rife with pictures of the shoddy construction of accommodations, and concerns about substandard venues.

There was nothing substandard about Laketown Ranch, though the facility will become more sophisticated as owners have more time to continue to shape the property.

There were, of course, some downs with the ups.

Some of the community events in Youbou and Lake Cowichan were not as well attended as organizers would have liked, with a few drawing very small numbers.

Some of that could be blamed on the very hot weather that marked the first two days of the festival, but community organizers were already talking about trying to make sure communication is better with Sunfest organizers next year to try to draw a bigger crowd.

A first year always experiences some growing pains and everyone involved will be looking to tweak their plans for 2017 when Toby Keith will headline the huge country music extravaganza which has now put Cowichan Lake on the map for thousands of fans.

Some of the community events will no doubt be redesigned to fit with this year’s experience. Some things will likely fall by the wayside, while new ideas take their place.

An attempt to sell $20 per day parking at Saywell Park, for example was not a success and needs to be reconsidered.

Transportation from Sunfest to the community events can be improved.

The upside: attendees had a blast.

All in all, Sunfest 2016 was a big success.