The Wapiti Music Festival will be back in Annex Park for 2023. Last year Wapiti relocated to James White Park. The dike protecting the Annex area of Fernie underwent extensive upgrades so the Annex Park was inaccessible.
The Wapiti Music Festival Society would like to acknowledge the incredible support of the City of Fernie, especially the Parks, Facilities and Recreation department, in assisting Wapiti’s relocation. Repurposing the James White baseball diamonds into a festival and bike lockup area took a lot of effort, but it paid off.
By all accounts the move to James White resulted in a very successful festival. Patrons definitely enjoyed the more panoramic layout of the baseball outfield. There were logistical challenges with locating vendors, porta-potties, and other components of the festival, but in the end it all more or less worked.
So, why the return? James White is a lovely park but Annex Park is Wapiti’s home. It’s where the festival had its start. The first Wapiti needed to include directions to Annex Park as it was a bit obscure to those not living in the Annex. Today, it’s a vibrant park with daily picnics, weddings, and other events. It is an event location.
Wapiti organizers met in November to discuss the options. While there was support for continuing at James White, the majority wanted to return to Annex. Most commented on the aesthetics, the clearer separation of festival and vendors, easier access for a needed refrigeration truck, and a shorter and better lit exit from the park.