Festival News

Festival news and announcements will be posted here from time to time. To be notified by email when important news is posted, please subscribe to our notification list.

View previous newsletters

2016 Podcasts

Podcasts by Sean Eckford of the Coast Reporter (5 min, MP3 audio files) — listen now or download and listen later!

  1. Pre-Festival Overview (July 11/16)
  2. Friday — Interviews with participants and authors (Aug 12/16)
  3. Saturday — Interviews with participants and authors (Aug 13/16)
  4. Sunday — Festival wrap-up (Aug 14/16)

2015 Podcasts

  1. Interview with Festival Director Jane Davidson (August 10/15)
  2. Friday — Interviews with participants and authors (August 14/15)
  3. Saturday — Interviews with participants and authors (August 15/15)
  4. Sunday — Festival wrap-up (August 16/15)

Everything You Need to Know about the Festival of the Written Arts

August 5, 2016

We're in the home stretch! We look forward to seeing you in Sechelt next week for our annual celebration of Canadian books and writers. The following may be more information than you need but, if you're a first-time visitor, this information might be helpful. And if you've been coming for years, well, maybe you'll learn something new.

Office hours during the Festival: Our door will be open at 8 am and will close just after the last event of the evening begins. You can reach us by telephone at 604-885-9631 or by email at info@writersfestival.ca.

Our beautiful park is not terribly hospitable for people with physical challenges. The easiest route into the Pavilion for people using wheelchairs or scooters is along the paved walkway on the east side of the park. This leads directly to the lower entrance. Please call the office before the Festival at 604-885-9631 if you have special seating needs (for you and one companion) or if you have questions about accessibility. There is more information below under Transportation and Parking and Washrooms.

Babies and Young Children
Our events are programmed with adults in mind and it might be difficult for young children to sit quietly for an hour.  We request that parents with babies sit on the aisle at the rear of the Pavilion so that a quick retreat is possible if necessary.

The Big Tent
This is where you will find our official Festival bookseller, Talewind Books, and Festival souvenirs. Rumour has it there will be a BIG SOUVENIR SALE this year. Authors go to the signing table in the tent immediately after their events to sign books and meet their readers. You will also find a group of Sunshine Coast self-published writers with books for sale.

Cell Phones, Social Media, etc.
We would love you to Tweet about your festival experience using the hashtag #scfwa2016. Please mute/turn off and put away all cell phones and tablets during the events.

The Festival Pavilion, Seating and Line-ups
This 450-seat open air structure is our only venue and is tucked into the northeast corner of the Rockwood Park. You can enter the Pavilion by either the lower or upper gate. All seating is General Admission (no reserved seats). Each event is one hour and there is ½ hour between most events to clear the house and set up for the next event. We try to do this as quickly and efficiently as possible.

If standing in line is difficult for you, please proceed to the front of the line and speak to the Front of House Manager. We will have a few folding chairs available.

The Festival Pavilion is open air and can be chilly depending on the weather and time of day. The seats are hard plastic. Many people bring a seat cushion. Many people also leave their seat cushions behind! Please check with us if you have done so in the past year or two. We have quite a collection.

Although the Pavilion is open air, please refrain from using perfume and scented products. It can be very uncomfortable for people with sensitivities or allergies sitting in the middle of a crowded space on a warm day.

You are welcome to bring your beverages into the Pavilion. No glass bottles, please.

The Festival Site
We refer to the entire Rockwood Park as the Festival site. Everything is located in the park: the Festival Pavilion, our office, food and beverage booths, the Big Tent, and washrooms. There is a site map on the website at http://writersfestival.ca/rockwoodmap.htm.

Food and Beverages
The Festival Café and Saffron Restaurant are located on the west side of the Rockwood Lodge (to your left, at the top of the main path). The Festival Café will have sandwiches, soup, baked goods, drinks and coffee. Saffron's menu usually includes a couple of curry options and samosas. Strait Coffee operates a coffee booth in front of the Lodge and you will find the Beverage booth in the area outside the big tent. This booth sells beer, wine, cider, coolers, juice and soft drinks. You can find a list of local restaurants and their hours of operation at the Information Booth.

Garbage and Recycling
My favourite topic! The onsite food and beverage booths use compostable beverage cups, plates, cutlery, “plastic” sandwich boxes and napkins. Please drop them into the tall blue collection bins. If you bring a cup of coffee with a plastic lid or plastic cutlery from elsewhere, please drop these items into the small blue collection box beside the bins.

The biggest garbage culprit is styrofoam that comes from off-site. Rather than toss it into the garbage, please dump leftover food in the collection bins and drop your styrofoam into the collection bags located at the top of the pathway and in the collection area near the beverage booth and big tent. A lucky volunteer will be washing and bagging the styrofoam to take it to the recycling centre.

Information Booth
This is where you can find bus schedules, ferry schedules, maps, restaurant hours, etc. and answers to your questions. The Information Booth is located in the lower garden.

The Festival has a really lovely, casual feel to it and we want to keep it that way. However, latecomers can be disruptive to both the author and to the audience once the event gets underway. Sometimes arriving late is unavoidable but please be aware of and keep an eye on the time.

No smoking on the Festival site and no dogs, please (with the exception of service dogs). (And, yes, I know the plural of no is noes but it just doesn't seem right to me.)

Most events have a Q&A session. If you have a question for the author, please wait until one of our stage crew hands you a wireless microphone. Please stand if you are able. This is an opportunity to ask a question (not make a statement). Please keep it brief and relevant.

Pre-purchased tickets will be available for pick-up in the office or the Information Booth (watch for the signage). Remember: if you purchased tickets online at share-there.com, you still need to pick up your printed ticket(s) from us. Tickets to most events will be available and sold right through the Festival so please be spontaneous and join us.

Online sales to all events will be discontinued on Thursday, August 11 at 4 pm. Tickets will continue to be sold by phone and in-person.

Transportation and Parking
Bus information is here. The website is not easy to navigate and Kailyn (superstar summer intern) has created a schedule that is much easier to read. Please let us know if you would like us to send you Kailyn's version of the bus schedule.

The BC Ferries schedule is here. Pacific Ferries (a passenger service) is here and information about the Sunshine Coast Connector bus is here.

Consider offering or requesting a ride to the Festival at www.share-there.com/writersfestival. You can also find details about the Pacific Ferries/Coast Connector round trip special that is being offered for Friday, August 12 and Saturday, August 13. This is available for a limited time only!

If you drive to the Festival site, please be prepared to park a couple of blocks away and walk. We hope you will leave the spots closest to the Festival for people who have mobility challenges. There is a large parking lot at Chatelech Secondary School, located up the hill and behind us.

A limited number of spots for vehicles displaying a permit for people with disabilities are available in the lower parking lot on Shorncliffe Avenue. These spots cannot be reserved and are available on a first come, first served basis. There is also a pick-up and drop-off area in the lower parking lot on Shorncliffe Avenue.

Saturday morning, August 13: The Sechelt Farmers & Artisans Market will be set up on Cowrie St. You can still drive into the lower parking lot along Shorncliffe Avenue but please approach slowly and cautiously. There will be many pedestrians on the road.

Gender neutral washrooms are located in the Rockwood Lodge (two washrooms, side entrance closest to the big tent) and at the rear of the Festival office building. There are three porta-potties along Shorncliffe Avenue (one is wheelchair accessible) and two in the upper parking lot.

We have not sold commercially bottled water at the Festival since 2010! Please bring our own water bottles. You can refill your bottles in the washrooms in the Lodge and at the rear of the office building. There will also be jugs of water at the Festival Café, the Beverage Booth, the Information Booth and in the office.

And that's it for now! We can't wait to see you all next week! Please call us if you have questions that we haven't covered here. Wishing you all a great Festival experience!

All the details are at www.writersfestival.ca.

Travel Options and Ride-Sharing

Our friends at Share-There, along with Pacific Ferries and the Sunshine Coast Connector bus have come up with a wonderful option for those of you traveling from Vancouver and the Lower Mainland. If you are considering a day trip to the Festival but are worried about travel, this might be the solution for you!

Round trip Ferry AND Bus to/from Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts.

Special Offer — Leave your car at home!

  • 8:00 am Pacific Ferries (a passenger ferry) departs from Horseshoe Bay and arrives at Gibsons Landing at 8:30 am. Hop on the Sunshine Coast Connector bus to Sechelt in time for the first event at 9 am.
  • 9:45 pm board the Sunshine Coast Connector bus in Sechelt to catch the 10:15 pm Pacific Ferries departure from Gibsons Landing to Horseshoe Bay.
  • You can also offer or request a free ride share by signing up and logging in at share-there.com.

Friday 12 August 2016, 08:00am – 10:15pm
Saturday 13 August 2016, 08:00am – 10:15pm

ROUND TRIP FERRY AND BUS to/from Festival of the Written Arts is $55.00.

Please note: a minimum of 20 passengers is required to make this happen. Book now to avoid disappointment!

Technical Support: . If urgent text 604 741 8184.

Already on the Sunshine Coast? Curious about ride-sharing?

Here's how it works:

  1. Go to share-there.com and sign up as a new user (if you haven't done-so already). Then login to get started.
  2. After logging in, you will see the Festival of the Written Arts logo on the home page. Choose the date you want to travel. You can also see “All Rides” to see what's already available. Plot where you'd like to the ride to start and end. Zoom in and out on the map using the + or – tools to fine-tune pick up and drop off locations. Review the details of your offer or request, make changes if needed, then post it on the site. NOTE: If you've posted to “Everyone” you can promote your offer/request on social media to expand your ride sharing network.
  3. Negotiate a Pick Up Time: Communicate directly through the website. You will be notified via email when there is a response to your post. You don't need to provide your contact information to other users. Simply follow the link in the email to negotiate a pick up time that works for both driver and passenger. Use the website to chat back and forth until you have worked out the details.
  4. Confirm Your Ride: Once you've figured out a pick up time, please confirm your ride by clicking the “Confirm” button and you're ready to go!

Do you have questions or need a hand? Support is available.

Share-There is happy to provide individualized assistance or group training. Just send a note to and they usually respond within 24 hrs. You may call 604 741 3359 or text 604 741 8184 if you need a quicker response. You can also read their Frequently Asked Questions.

Once again, visit www.share-there.com/writersfestival.