In addition to the usual important guidelines, we have compiled some of the more frequently asked questions and answers over the years.
(if you read nothing else here, read these. )
Frequently Asked Questions:
- What do I do with my garbage & recycling?
- Can I bring outside food & drinks?
- What should I pack?
- How to Find Soundwave
- Are their public phones & cell reception?
- Is there an ATM?
- Is there Internet?
- What are the gate hours?
What do I do with my vehicle and parking?
Do I need to bring drinking water?
- First Aid
- Can I Bring My Kids?
- What about Dogs?
- What about Food?
- What about Water?
- What about Wildlife?
- Can I buy a ticket for just one day?
- How does the Volunteering work?
- Can I purchase a ticket at the front gate?
- How much are Parking Fees?
- Are camp fires allowed?
- Will my beer be taken away at the gate?
- Is there likely to be a Road Block?
- Can my car make it to Soundwave?
- Can people in tents camp with people in RV's? ... and what about this extra Fee for RV Camping???
- How far a hike is it from where I park to my camp site?
- What is the in and out policy?
- What are EarBuddies?
This is a 3 day outdoor event.
You MUST be 19 (or with your PARENT) to take this ride.
Bring ID, a tent, warm clothing, shades & fresh socks!
Absolutely NO glass bottles, dogs, or vehicles on site!
Respect one another and your wilderness surroundings!
Contain your garbage (due to wild animals found in the area). Do not leave your garbage behind when you leave... Pack it in - Pack it out)! Recycling IS available on site. Cigarette butts should be safely contained in a can at your camp site (bring your own can).
Fires must be contained in designated fire pits only!
Wristbands must be visible on your wrist at all times.
Drive responsibly, and remember that Rough Roads lead to Smooth People.
FAQ: Frequent Answers:
Please remember to pack out all your garbage that you bring in. There are recycling facilities on-site. (please click here for additional info)
Bringing outside food and drinks is a smart idea as long as all beverages are in plastic containers. No glass bottles on-site. Also remember that there very yummy food vendors if you need a quick bite.
Mussel Beach is a wilderness campground in a tropical rainforest so dress for great success by being ready for anything mistress nature can conjure up. Pack a variety of layers ranging from: bikinis to waterproof jackets to flip-flops to gum boots as well as sun block and drinking water.
Please go to soundwavemusicfestival.ca/location
There are no public phones on-site but there is cell reception. If you cell lacks service and say you need to make a Sunday sick call you will have no problem finding a friendly phone lender.
There is no ATM on-site and so stock up your coffers before you leave Port Alberni.
Yes, there is free wireless internet, which can be found by the volunteer tent and food concessions.
The gate is open 24 hours.
All parking at soundwave this year is pay parking, as discussed on the tickets page.
When you arrive at the gate you will be charged for parking (and if you are there early, extra camping). Car pools arriving Friday or later receive free parking - otherwise you will be paying $20/night/vehicle. RV's and trailers will be charged according to how many car sized spaces in length they are, at $20/night/car sized spot they take up.
Once you are through the front gate, please follow the instructions of the staff that are parking you, and do what they say. They will direct you to the best available spot for you to park your vehicle or RV in.
Yes, you must bring in your drinking water and remember that is very important to keep hydrated because were going to be dancing in the SUN!
Yes we do have showers! Mostly hot and steamy just how you like it. However the showers do become a popular destination so if you see only a few people in line… “git on it!”
The First Aid tent is located between the Renegade Stage and the food vendors and will be staffed for duration of the party.
To keep you snug as a bug in a rug, Sensor Protection Group will be on-site.
We once again have a not-so-general store setup for the odds and ends that get left behind or put
We are family! We love family! It makes us smile and belly laugh when people bring their kids to soundwave! Watching them play and dance fills us right up and makes us think about making more of them, to keep your kids company.
We wish that more people would bring their kids along for the journey, since we’re of the belief that celebration is 100% a family affair! However, we do ask that if you’re going to bring your kids, to please keep them close by and that you attend to them at all times. Others didn’t necessarily factor in on inheriting your childcare responsibilities on their big weekend get-away.
Please pay very close attention if you’re out and about with your kids after nightfall. The event site gets very busy and extremely dark, which can make it easy to lose site of them in amongst the crowd. This is a fairly overwhelming atmosphere for a young child to lose their parent(s) in, so please do be aware of the potential for this to occur and try to exercise the appropriate level of care that is reasonably demanded in such a situation. If you were to lose track of your tyke momentarily, don’t worry! Our site is chalk full of stupendous people, friendly security types, enthusiastic volunteers, and helpful first aid staff. Its likely one of them will have noticed something awry, and that they’re already waiting for you at the site office, with your precious bundle in tow.
Please try to consider that there are monster sound systems in full service mode here at Soundwave. It can get to be quite loud, espeially in close proximity to the stage areas. Very young children’s ears are often quite sensitive to higher Sound Pressure Levels, so you may wish to consider having your children use some form of ear protection, to limit any chance of them suffering hearing damage while on-site.
People who are camping with young children have historically selected the sites towards the far end of the site (down the surf shack road, past the Liquid Soul Sound Stage). These sites are not available to the Festival’s patrons this year, since they’ve all been independently leased on an annual basis. Up above the walkway that meanders through the stage areas, there is a windy road with many cute little fingers that branch off of it. These are likely to be among the quietest sites on the property and also some of the most private. If I were looking for a quiet place to camp, so I could get my kid to sleep, I’d be checking out these sites first. At a couple of these no music at all could be heard on Saturday night last year! These sites officially qualify as Soundwave rarities ... hidden treasures that are well worth the time spent hunting for them! Some people opt to camp way down the beach, along the foreshore on the opposite side of the site too. I’m sure that this would be the next best thing (never been down there myself, but it seems sensible enough). That being said, these are also likely to be among the first sites to be occupied. So don’t dilly dally, let’s really rally and git down to it! Don’t sweat it, just squeeze your tents in there and make some new friends … on the double!
Soundwave wants you … and your kids too!
There are no dogs allowed on the site this year. The vet on the next beach over is no longer boarding dogs, so you will have to leave them at home or with someone. I you’d like to have them closer, there are some boarding kennels in the area surrounding Nanaimo. But please contact them prior to departing for the show, to see if they have space available over the period of your trip (and reserve it before you leave, if they do). You and your pets will both be so happy to know that they have a place to stay and will be well cared for, and this way neither of you will need to be disappointed, by being turned around at the “Gateway to the Experience”, and just for having a dog in your truck.
Please Note: This rule applies to all dogs, even very special ones like yours!
There will be culinary delights to suit several lifestyle choices, with our unusual providers from years past.
There is water on the site for showers, washing, washing dishes, cooling down, swimming, snorkelling, surfing, enjoying the view, splashing, and fire prevention. This is not potable water, meaning that you can’t drink it.
There will be bottled water for sale at a very reasonable price in all of our concession locations. Please drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration in the hot summer heat, or if you’re just plain thirsty. This is also a great way to help us to make sure that all of these people, who are working hard to serve you over the course of the weekend, are
able to return home with a bit of money in their jeans!
There is no source of “free” drinking water anywhere on the property. However, you are welcome to bring your own provisions in whatever quantities you desire, or feel will be necessary to get you through the weekend. If you run out, the service can act as your back up! (this is cheaper, but tends to take up quite a bit of room in your vehicle.)
There is certainly plenty of “wildlife” in the area! Is it dangerous? Tough to say. As a rule of thumb, I would steer clear of any mammal or animal that is standing upright on it’s hind legs with an intense look of purpose and making strange grunting noises! Of course, if you take this to heart, you probably won’t be meeting anyone at the show! But in all seriousness. There are cougars and bears in the area. Humans are too big for cougars (keep your young children close though), and black bears don’t really have a taste for humans. It’s not really something to worry about as the loud music tends to keep the wildlife at quite a distance. The bears are quite curious though, and can often be seen around the perimiter of the site smelling the smells and enjoying the sweet beats from a
distance. There are quite a number of newborn bear cubs in the immediate vicinity of the site. If you happen across any very young bears DO NOT approach them! This is the surest way to get momma bear upset with you! Enjoy the encounter from a distance and make sure that you don’t physically get between momma and her babies. It’s all part of a journey less ordinary!
Mussel Beach campground has adopted the federal parks "Bare Campsite" policy. Please be Bear Aware at your camp site and do not leave food and/or garbage strewn around!
Can I buy a ticket for just One Day?
Participants who are unable to attend for the entire event, due to scheduling conflicts, financial burdens, court appointments, chance meetings, or first dates, will be able to participate at a discounted rate, based on their prorated share of costs. These discounted cost receipts will ONLY be offered at the portal of entry to the experience, after 8:00 AM on the morning of Sunday, July 18th.
After this time, your share of the costs will be updated to $[TBD still for 2010].
This, for people who are only able to attend for one day, when that day happens to fall on the Friday, or the Saturday. We regret that there is no discount available for your situation. There are many reasons for these two ticketing scenarios. Among them, that the majority of the event’s costs are incurred on the first two days of its run time. During this period, the event site, the parking facilities, and the narrow roadways all experience congestion, and a certain amount of chaos. This scenario is skillfully guided to transform into one of order and generally respectful behaviour, on the part of authentic Soundwavers. This is due to the clearly demonstrated and consistently strong leadership of our staff, and volunteer corps, and the righteously groovey dispositions of those that tend to sign up for this endeavour. The period between Saturday and Sunday is one in which many participants realize that they’ve really had enough, and just can’t muster the stuff to go the rest of the way. They pack up and start up the road, in favour of a warm bed and some peace and quiet. Because this period tends to require the road for those who are headed back to civilization, it is VERY difficult to arrive onto the site during these times. Anyone, that has experienced being blocked in on this road, will advise you to avoid this situation at all costs. It is time consuming, frustrating, and can turn out to be quite expensive too, especially if you’re not a naturally patient person.
There is no system currently established, to deal with tickets for Friday and Saturday only attendance. This is because nobody has ever left on Saturday before! The event was designed, and programmed, with the idea in mind that people would attend for the whole weekend. It’s a campout, with treats spaced out throughout, as part of a journey that’s best experienced as a whole. As a generalization, people that come for short periods, then leave, tend to be somewhat disruptive to others who have gotten their bearings, and have settled in for the ride. They are also often challenged to appreciate what is happening at that moment, in the
context of the entire thing. This is because, due to their tardiness, there is no frame of reference for them to place those moments into their proper context. In any case, the implementation of a system, to allow for Friday, or Saturday only attendance, would be a costly and convoluted endeavour. This would come at a time when we have been putting forth our very best efforts to keep the event affordable for attendees, and more efficient to manage, so that we
might be able to enjoy it too. Without careful attention to the managing of these situations, costs begin to rise for us, and for you. This is a scenario that we have been very much trying to avoid, for all of our sakes. Oh! While we’re on this topic, we at Soundwave have always had a liberal in and out policy. This has always been so that people would have an opportunity to enjoy more of what the area has to offer, or to go to town for supplies. This year the policy
will be somewhat more rigid to allow for better traffic flow on the narrow road. When the road get’s congested people’s vehicles get damaged and someone could get hurt. For this reason, we are only allowing departures from the site before 3pm (I think). This will allow people who leave a more or less smooth departure. People arriving should find this less frustrating as well. Of course emergencies will be excluded from this policy without prejudice. To offset difficulties that could potentially be caused by this new policy, we have taken great steps to ensure that many of the things that you might need are provided right on site (cold ice, hot food, etc.). It is our hope that this will allow people to relax, settle in, and go about the business of having a really good time! We hope that you
will think so too.
In a nutshell:
- You must still buy your ticket to the show first.
- You will be working 12 hours on site, and after the completion of your shift will be reimbursed $180 towards the cost of your ticket, with our thanks.
Please see the Volunteering page for information!
Tickets will be sold at the gateway to the experience. They will cost more to purchase there.
However, ticket vendors all the way up the island are likely to still be in possession of tickets at the regular cost, since I'll be fortifying their supply on my way to the site. As long as one of these tickets remains unclaimed at an authorized vendor, then it is still possible to pay the regular price for them. Most participants drive directly past 4 or 5 such retailers on their way to the event, so it's really difficult to conjure empathy at the gate for someone who can't
manage to stop at one of them on the way (to save themselves and their associates $50 a piece no less!).
In the unlikely event that all retailers have sold all of their tickets prior to the events close, one can at least take comfort in the awareness that all is not lost, since there IS a Sunday only ticket which IS ONLY available at the front gate of the event. So, if you are in this situation and do not wish to invest extra money at the front gate, then all you have to do is wait until after 8am on Sunday morning, go to the gate then and purchase your pass.
Ticket Prices at the Gate for Soundwave 2010
If you arrive early to event site:
Wednesday July 8 8 am - Friday at 8 am: $TBD / person + parking
Friday 8 am - Saturday 8 am: $TBD / person (parking & camping included)
Saturday 8 am - Sunday 8 am: $TBD / person (parking & camping included)
Sunday 8 am - Closing:$TBD / person (parking & camping included)
Your ticket purchase includes camping on Friday through Saturday nights. If you wish to arrive early (as early as Wednesday morning) you will be charged additional parking fees per-vehicle per-night.
All parking fees will be charged upon entry to the site. This fee will
apply to all vehicles that arrive in advance of the event's start time, (Friday July 16th at 8 am)
This fee will be $20 / vehicle / night.
RV's and Motorhomes that are larger than a normal car will be charged proportionally. (See below)
Cars that arrive full to capacity on Friday after 8:00am (ie. a full carpool) will receive free parking through Sunday night. For all other cases, including RV's, there will be the standard per-night fee per vehicle.
Yes, campfires are allowed, but ONLY IN DESIGNATED FIRE PITS. There is usually one of these per camp site.
No, but please respect the rule of NO GLASS BOTTLES (for obvious reasons). Please also enjoy your beverages responsibly at your camp site. If you are going wandering, any beverages must be in a plastic cup - we have these on site, but it would be helpful if you brought a small supply of your own for this purpose.
We've been enjoying a spirit of harmony and cooperation with the local law enforcement for the past several years. The most tangible result of this has been an absence of roadblocks entirely.
There was, however, a bad one a few years back. Also, there was a fairly hysterical newspaper article that surfaced a couple years ago year titled "Wild Rave Sparks Police Concerns" or something like that. So perhaps this is the year for another one.
You can avoid this worry entirely by being safe and sensible and driving within the limits of the law, and not consuming intoxicants while doing so!! If you do, then get pulled over, you'll get your gear confiscated.
If all containers are full and unopened (that means no beers removed from the case, even if the empty isn't in the car) and the occupants are of the age of majority, then nobody can legally confiscate your legally obtained and consumed libations. True Dat!
So, drive safe. Use your heads. and look out for one another!
Yes, any road worthy, mechanically sound car should make it there and back no problem. You will be proceeding 25km down a rough logging road. It is not paved
and in parts has some pretty severe washboards / pot-holes. You do not require 4WD or a truck to get on site.
That being said, this is probably not too great an idea if you JUST bought your vehicle brand new and/or you are very very fussy about its appearance, or if you are trying to arrive in a sports car with low suspension. But aside from these possibilities, you are almost certainly good to go! Many hundreds of vehicles make it in and out every year without any problems.
It's easy to avoid potential vehicle trhashing: just drive REALLY slow on the logging road. Not only is it much easier on your ride, it kicks up less dust to obscure the view from and/or thrash the paint of other people's vehicles.
Pretty much every case of someone's vehicle getting stranded boils down to one of two causes: (a) the vehicle was already dying/mechanically unsound, and not well suited for a 600km journey into the wilderness, or (b) someone got too excited and went too fast on the logging road, losing or damaging important parts of their vehicle (such the oil pan, which is awfully close to all those rocks, and vitally important in even reaching the end of the logging road, let alone your home).
...and what about this extra fee for RV camping?
Yes, the benevolent and extremely patient people in the site maximization department have been working very closely with our human maximization tendencies, and have taken special care to select areas of the site that are best suited to used in service of these special needs (special in the context of this event, not "special"). I believe that there are several areas in consideration around the property.
The very best way for you to end up in the area that is best suited for you, no matter who you are, is to communicate very clearly and quickly (to the parking people) upon your arrival onto the site what your needs and desires are. Then submit to their will and do as they ask of you. They are 100% dedicated to ensuring that they do their very best for you, within the very real and current scenario that has unfolded on the site. Mentioning names does NOT help to do anything but waste time. Don't bother. It only weakens your bargaining position.
Although we have done our best to make space, and to make that space functional for all of the scenarios that we could imagine that people would require, we can not "create" new space, and the space that is available IS limited. This is especially true for you, if you are a person or group that has a very specific idea of what you're trying to achieve.
I only mention this point, which seems quite obvious to me, because people who aren't driving giant RVs rarely ever have a problem finding a great place to camp. People who do have giant RVs tend to have a more difficult time of it. They also tend to be more concerned about where they park because they've chosen to camp in their vehicle, which can be a bit of a conflict.
If this describes you and your situation (and I don't mean you specifically pickled, but others that may be reading this), then please keep these things in mind when you arrive on site, try to set realistic goals, and assist the parking people to do their best to get you into a special spot, without being "special" at the same time. Their job is difficult and your requirements are the MOST difficult of the ones that they are charged with.
Also keep in mind that things used to be much worse than they are now, and that a great deal of time, energy, and expense has gone into making space for you to even get onto the site with these vehicles. They take up space that we don't have in excess, and that each such vehicle that gets onto the site means that 3-4 vehicles full of people will be walking up the road with their gear, in order to have this space set aside for you.
The event wasn't designed for this, it's a "camp-out" and there are NO VEHICLES WHATSOEVER allowed on the event site proper.
So with that said, a hint: If this is you, and you would REALLY like to manifest the best possible scenario for keeping your crew together, then please arrive EARLY so that it can be done in a careful and orderly fashion, with the least amount of negative impact on others. The EARLIER that you are able to land your mothership on the site, the BETTER your chances are to end up with a happy conclusion (if this indeed is what makes you happy as many in your situation appear to
be fixated on).
The site fills up quickly, and all of this becomes impossible before long.
This, you need to be aware of!
Also be aware that arriving in the late afternoon on Friday is NOT arriving EARLY for the purposes of this discussion. This would be considered arriving LATE, VERY LATE. If this is the time that you'd like to arrive, or later even?, then I would strongly suggest that you reevaluate your choice of vehicles to bring to this event! This is NOT a joke. Don't try to roll on site on Saturday with a 32' RV! You probably won't make it.
Charges for Motorhome, Trailer, and Oversize Parking at Soundwave
RVs and oversized vehicles will be assessed a fee of $20 / car sized spot they take up / night from the time of their arrival to the site until the event's completion.
example: Wednesday arrival with RV that is 2 car spaces big: 5 nights x 2 spaces x $20 per space per night = $200
Friday arrival with giant 5 car sized RV: 3 nights x 5 spaces x $20 per space per night = $300
This is because this is the single greatest eater (and waster in my opinion) of space that we encounter, and is directly responsible for the lion's share of the excavation costs that have been encountered. It's not fair to charge everybody for the costs associated with space that is used by so few.
So, there you have it. Sorry if it got "ranty" in parts, but I think it's important, so that we can all appreciate what the other is going through, and can focus on the important part, which is having a REALLY GOOD TIME!
Soundwave now features numerous huge parking lots, which allow you to get from your vehicle to most of the campsites in under 10 or 15 minutes.
That being said, here are some useful tips for when you first arrive:
Carry in just your tent, find somewhere to set it up, then carry in everything else.The site is fairly big, and you don't want to be lugging your 50kg cooler, deck chairs, twelve burner barbeque, and portable hot tub with you as you explore the site for the first time.
Make multiple trips. No need to carry in all your food and water the first day, consider making trips as you need stuff.
Don't overdo the supplies. Do you really need the 50kg cooler when a smaller one would do? Can you leave the hot tub behind? What about skipping the stereo, so your neighbours don't have to put up with your favourite Bob Marley tape all weekend?
Consider hiring a sherpa, or perhaps a pack of sled dogs.
Try not to think about the fact that you have to carry it all back out at some point.
In and out is allowed, provided you still have your wristband when you return. You are not necessarily going to end up parked in the same spot when you return.
Anybody wishing to come and go from the site will be assessed a $20 / vehicle in & out fee.
**** This type of movement will be restricted during peak times to maintain traffic flow on the narrow logging road. ****
EarBuddies is working with Soundwave to provide affordable high-quality reusable hearing protection to Soundwave attendees. These earplugs don't muffle sound, and are a fraction of the cost of custom-molded earplugs. They will be available for purchase at the Soundwave store during the festival.
You can buy them online before the event and get a 15% discount by going to www.earbuddies.ca and using the coupon code 'soundwave' when ordering.