Discover fun facts about Bard’s Festival site and take a virtual tour of the Village!
Bard on the Beach is located on the ancestral lands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səl̓ilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) people. The Festival grounds sit on the site of Sen’ákw. Learn more about the history of this vibrant Coast Salish village here.
This summer, our familiar red and white tents are missing from Vanier Park. But you’re about to find out how our amazing Festival facility comes together – and as it turns out, it does “take a village”!
Every year, our entire site is built from the ground up in the Park, starting in early-to-late March. The building process takes between twelve to sixteen weeks to complete, plus one month to tear down and clean up. It requires a crew of up to 75 individuals who work both full and part-time seven days a week, including heavy equipment operators, skilled electricians, carpenters, painters and general technicians.
Our site crew is responsible for digging, building, installing the seating, rigging lights, painting and of course, raising all of the iconic red and white tents that mark our site. They also plant the beautiful gardens and build the boardwalks—among many other things.
The central gathering area known as the “Bard Village” includes a fully stocked concession, box office, porta-pottys (aka “Toilet Town”), audience services, a boutique and lounging areas. It’s the first area patrons enter on their way into the theatre tents and it truly becomes a bustling village during pre-show and intermission. The Village is also used for our Education team’s free In a Nutshell Talks, as well as Family Day activities, Opening Night speeches and more!
Here are some fun facts about the Bard Village:
- The first thing built is a tent called “tool town”, which acts as the main office and equipment storage for the site crew, along with the fencing that surrounds the site.
- Combined, the Village and surrounding tent structures cover almost 17,000 square feet. In the past 12 years, the Village has grown by half—to over 5,500 square feet.
- Each summer the site crew has to develop a full water and electrical plan, just like any new construction site.
- In 2018, Bard updated its visual branding, including the wrought iron sign that greets patrons at the main entrance. The old iron sign is enjoying its retirement in the garden of Bard’s Artistic Director, Christopher Gaze.
- There is no plumbing onsite ,which is why we use portable toilets—plus, water conservation is a priority! Toilet Town is made up of 34 porta-potties and during showtime, our friendly volunteers help to make sure that the line keeps moving.
- We work with Recycling Alternative each summer and divert approximately 18,000 pounds of waste from ending up in a landfill.
- In 2019, we added a gazebo built by PW Scenic Wood Shop and designed by our onsite Carpentry Shop Manager, William Dettlaff. We like to call it the “Christopher Gazebo”!
- In 2019, local artist Sandeep Johal created a custom mural for the Bard Village featuring animals native to the surrounding land and water.
- Once the Village is complete, we add string lights and hanging planters for that magic touch!
- During the off-season, we store our tents, staging, props, set pieces and all sorts of other equipment in a 25,000 sq. ft. rented warehouse space in Richmond. We store our seating and other hardware in six big shipping containers, located in Surrey.
Take a virtual 360° tour of the Bard Village on Google
We hope you’ve enjoyed this virtual trip behind the scenes of our site Village—and are so looking forward to seeing you back there next season!
With continued generous support from:
Have questions? Tell us in the comments!