I shoved the last of my camping gear into the already packed Toyota Yaris, put a bag under my feet, another on top of me, and then we were off. I couldn't see Ryley or Shayne in the backseat, but their audible discomforts were there to reassure us that they'd not suffocated under the mass of gear.
When we reached Victoria twenty minutes later the four of us spilled out of the car and onto the concrete of the parking lot behind Shayne's apartment building. We were one person lighter, and with a slight repack there was plenty of room for Michelle, Ryley, and I all out gear. We grabbed a breakfast bagel, some coffee, and headed north to Ucluelet.
I'm a bad Vancouver Islander. Up until a couple years ago I hadn't been past Port Alberni heading west on The 4. I'd been north to Campbell River, Gold River, and some other backwood places for my job, but I've never really explored where I lived. Case and point I hadn't been on the Breakwater in Victoria until the beginning of this year. I've been here for damn near a decade, but I'm still essentially a tourist.
So, when the opportunity arose to head north to shoot the Otalith Music Festival in Ucluelet I had to do it.
I really love a good destination festival. I love the community aspect that comes along with camping near or at a venue. Your neighbours become long lost friends. You share beers, Fireball whiskey, bagels, tools, and a campfire.
As we rolled into the Ucluelet Campground I felt like it wasn't going to happen. It had been raining for the last half hour of our drive into town. By the time we got to the campground it was a torrential downpour. Heavier than anything I'd seen since April. I was severely disheartened. I thought this weekend was going to be special, the clouds and rain would blow away. It would be nothing but sunshine and rainbows all weekend. Clearly that wasn't going to be the case, well right now at least.
We quickly set up camp. My tent already gathering a fairly large puddle in the bottom. I'd worry about it later. I had a beer in the summer rain, listened to Kathryn Calder soundcheck, made sure my equipment was ready to go and dry, put on my rain jacket, and headed to the festival.