AltiTunes Music Festival returns to Big White this weekend

Twice the fun at AltiTunes

For the second year in a row, AltiTunes music festival has taken over Big White Ski Resort. But the event is now delivering twice the fun this year, after expanding to two days.

Thousands of people, dressed up in their best retro ski gear, packed into the venue at Big White's Happy Valley parking lot area Friday afternoon. The event is hosted by Thick as Thieves Entertainment, a local Kelowna company co-founded by Kurt Jory and Mitch Carefoot.

“People release, and they're somebody different in those festival walls than their day-to-day work or who you see in town, so that's a really cool part, is people get that escape. Which coming through COVID, it's never been more important,” Jory told Castanet from the Big White gondola Friday afternoon.

“It started as a 'What if? What if we could do that?' and it poses all sorts of challenges but it's such a unique experience to be snowboarding, skiing, being on the hill, being in the hot tub with your crew.”

About 4,000 tickets were sold for both the Friday and Saturday of the festival, making for a complete sell-out. The pair's inaugural Kelowna Beer Fest, held in City Park on May 13, has also sold out.

Carefoot and Jory said when they started producing Denim on the Diamond several years ago, they never expected to have the success they're seeing now. While the pair are the faces of the operation, they have a team of hundreds of people helping to make the event a success.

“That's what it's about for us, just the teamwork pulling together,” Carefoot said. “Knowing that even if something does go sideways, there are hundreds of people who want to pull it back together, and that's kind of the coolest thing with the growth.”

The first day of music saw headliners Peach Pit, out of Vancouver, closing out the show. Ontario's Billy Raffoul and the Kootenay's Shred Kelly rounded out AltiTunes' more rock-focused Friday.

The apres-ski party continues Saturday, with a more electronic dance music-focused line-up. Felix Cartal will take to the stage in the headlining spot, after Moontricks, Stickybuds, Rumpus and Kytami & Phonik Ops get the party started Saturday afternoon.

A year ago, the Arkells headlined the first one-night Altitunes event, along with Lights and daysormay.

The inaugural event was initially scheduled to kick off in the spring of 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced its two-year postponement.

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