KELOWNA – One of Canada’s hottest beach festivals is back again this year, but Center of Gravity founder Scott Emslie says ticket sales are down compared with last year.
“We sold out by May last year,” he says. “We’re 90 per cent sold out right now so tickets will be available at the gate.”
The city asked Wet Ape to move the festival off the August long weekend, citing concerns the roughly 30,000 COG attendees puts too much of a strain on the already busy weekend.
Emslie says moving the date has likely affected sales, but says the main reason they have sold fewer tickets this year is also due to a changing festival landscape.
“There are a lot of really big budget festivals around this time,” he says. “Kelowna is a small market but it’s a tourist destination. Having Center of Gravity on the long weekend made it a lot easier for people to come from Vancouver, Calgary or Edmonton. It’s a bit more difficult now for people to plan that trip, especially when there are more options as far as festivals go.”
Still, Emslie is optimistic about the future of the festival.
“The amount of entertainment you get at Center of Gravity is unmatched by a lot of other festivals,” he says. “It’s a pretty cool combination of action sports and music. In just one week we transform City Park into a mini action sports world with big stages and a lot of entertainment packed into one park.”
New this year is an expanded water zone off Hot Sands beach where wake boarders are pulled through the water with a winch. Emslie says there are more ramps, kickers and jumps in the cable park and spectators can get closer to the action this year than ever before.
“For beach volleyball we have a number of top athletes from Canada and the U.S. coming up and we have an Olympian, Josh Binstock, competing this year.”
The Dirt Zone, where BMX and motocross athletes perform stunts for the crowd, has also been improved this year and will feature side-by-side courses and a bigger stage.
Emslie says they’ve also focused on diversifying the appeal of the music lineup this year.
“That’s a lot of big names all on the same day,” he says. “It’s pretty stacked.”
Sunday’s music lineup alone includes Calvin Harris, Tegan and Sara, Chromeo, Capital Cities and Adventure Club.
Harris first came to COG in 2011 and Emslie says he’s even more popular now than he was then.
“Calvin is red hot,” he says. “For electronic dance music, it doesn’t get any bigger. I’ve also never seen Tegan and Sara live so I’m pretty pumped about that. There are a lot of artists I’m really excited about.”
Visit the Center of Gravity website for ticket prices and availability.
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