Did any accredited media question Huka’s claims? Many outlets said 20,000 or 25,000 attended the festival daily. Huka CEO A.J. Niland told the Vancouver Sun there was 15,000 to 23,000 per day.
Photographic evidence suggests much smaller crowds.
Niland claims at least 15,000 on Thursday night. I counted about 150 to 200 on Thursday night for Gord Downie, who used to sell out arenas in Canada with The Tragically Hip. He’s an amazing artist and deserved bigger crowds.
I estimated there were about 2000 people near the stage for Soundgarden’s awesome set Friday night, and perhaps equal or smaller numbers for the Kendrick Lamar’s set on another stage. Other stages were empty. Note how there’s very few people on the grass behind the soundboard for Soundgarden, who often play for 20,000 or more.
It might be Soundgarden’s smallest audience at a festival in more than two decades. It wasn’t their fault. They sounded better than ever.
Chris Cornell, one of the greatest rock vocalists ever, tweeted this after the show:
I rarely saw any line-ups the whole weekend. Hotels in Whistler had many rooms available. The biggest line-up I saw was about 50 to 80 people waiting almost an hour for a bus in Whistler Friday afternoon. I never had to wait in line for any other bus.
I saw no waits in traffic whatsoever the entire weekend. My bus from Pemberton to Whistler Friday night was completely empty, other than the friendly driver and I.
This is the only parking lot for campers. I counted about 20 rows deep and about 25 cars per row, thus about 500 cars, enough for about 1000 to 2000 campers for the weekend.
Thus I estimate no more than 5000 people attended the festival. Many of them were local volunteers who got in free.