New festival SummerCamp soon to debut in Mount Pleasant in Vancouver

“It’s about all the things we love about the summer — ribs, BBQ, beer and all the fun summer games,” said organizer Billie Jo Aasen.

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Do you miss the carefree days of summer camp? Here’s your chance to relive it with the inaugural SummerCamp Rib & Music Fest in Vancouver’s Mount Pleasant neighbourhood.

The three-day festival, which kicks off on the first day of summer June 21 at Jonathan Rogers Park will feature a classic ribfest barbecue, live music, DJs, a craft market and beer garden. There will also be a kid zone and adult-sized summer games such as tug of war, water guns, even sumo wrestling.

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“It’s about all the things we love about the summer — ribs, barbecue, beer and all the fun summer games,” said organizer Billie Jo Aasen of The Festival Company.

Aasen has organized dozens of music festivals across North America. But post-COVID and after having twins during the pandemic, she wanted to do something closer to home, in her neighbourhood.

She’s been sitting on the idea of summer camp. After meeting Barb Hoolaeff, who had chaired Ribfest in Penticton, which has since been cancelled, Aasen decided to bring the event here, rebrand it, and combine it with the best things about summer camp to create one big, fun, free community event.

Aasen reached out to the Mount Pleasant Business Improvement Association, who introduced her to David Duprey of The Narrow Group, which has restaurants and artist studios across East Van. He was on board for it.

“We love to throw a great party,” said Duprey. “And SummerCamp Festival is going to include everything we love to celebrate.”

The event is family-friendly and meant to attract a mix of people, including Aasen’s demographic, which is parents with young kids.

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“As a mom, I still want to go out and have fun and I want to bring my kids to them,” she said. “I don’t want to just go to two-year-old birthday parties. I want to meet up with friends, have a drink, have some good food. That’s how SummerCamp came about.”

The festival got the green light from the park board earlier this month, with capacity capped at 3,000 people daily.

Like most events, off-site food or beverages are not permitted, although parents with toddlers can bring milk and snacks. There’ll be plenty of food vendors on site, including five rib trucks.

The event is free but donations are welcome. The festival supports the Lifted Organization, a B.C.-based non-profit dedicated to youth mental health and resiliency.

To keep the event affordable, the music from cover bands will play throwback ’90s songs and danceable pop and rock tunes. In between bands, a DJ will take over.

Organizers are also working with local restaurants and bars on and around Main Street for official after-parties, so after the festival shuts down at 10 p.m., there’ll be other parties in the community.

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To close out the summer, The Festival Company is also hosting SummerCamp in Penticton from Sept. 13 to 15.

Aasen said Jonathan Rogers park and Mount Pleasant — with its young families, working professionals, creative buzz, and eclectic businesses — are great venues for Vancouver’s inaugural event.

“I think it’s important people continue to try new things and throw new events in the marketplace to keep families here.”

SummerCamp Rib & Music Fest

When: June 21, noon. to 10 p.m.; June 22, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; June 23, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Where: Jonathan Rogers Park, 110 West 7th Avenue, Vancouver

Tickets: Free, but registration is required. Donations welcome.

For more information, visit summercampfestival.ca

[email protected]


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