Crowds returned to uptown New West in droves for the return of Uptown Live.
Thousands of people attended the July 16 street party, which featured live and DJ music on several stages, food trucks, vendors and interactive activities.
“It was amazing. There was probably, I would say, 35,000 to 40,000 people. Probably our largest crowds ever,” said Douglas Smith of Blue Coast Event Group, which produces the event on behalf of the Uptown Business Association of New Westminster. “The music was fantastic. I think everybody would agree that from top to bottom, the music on every one of the stages was just amazing.”
Uptown Live was held in 2019, before the pandemic cancelled festivals and other large gatherings.
“You could tell that people were just really happy to be out on the street celebrating again and walking around, and being able to have some fun in a large setting like that. It’s been a long time,” Smith said. “People were ready to celebrate. We had lots of dancing. It was a very, very positive energy.”
Festival goers enjoyed an eclectic lineup of music on four stages – the Electronic Garden on Belmont Street at Seventh Street, The Acoustic Stage at Sixth Avenue and Seventh Street, The Next Gen Stage at Sixth Street and Seventh Avenue, and The Main Stage at Sixth Avenue and Fifth Street.
“We changed up the location of things this year, and the response that we got was really positive because the event seemed different. It was laid out differently,” Smith said. “I think changing it up and switching it up from year to year is a good idea. It keeps it fresh.”
According to Smith, no issues were reported with attendees at the event.
“The crowd was very well behaved,” he said. “We didn’t have any incidents whatsoever.”
After some residents and businesses on Belmont Street voiced concerns about the volume of music at The Electronic Garden, some adjustments were made to the sound.
Smith said this year’s event marked the first time Uptown Live has featured a DJ/electronic stage, so there was a little bit of a learning curve there.
“I think it was well received,” he said. “We have to adapt to the change in music. The kids now, they love electronic music; they love DJs. That’s what they go to clubs for, and we wanted to bring that to the streets. We will look to see if we want to continue that next year or adapt it.”
Smith said The Next Gen stage featured some “kickass” entertainment.
“That was amazing. The music was fantastic,” he said. “The artists on that stage – Chersea and AHSIA, they were so good, we are going to invite them to perform at The Main Stage next year. They were fantastic.”
Smith was equally happy with the quality of musicians who performed on The Main Stage.
“Richard Tichelman, that guy is a superstar in the making. … Antonio Larosa, just a fantastic voice; great original music,” he said. “We couldn’t be happier with the lineup. It was unbelievable.”