SongWest – Bamfield

Frequently Asked Questions

If your questions are not answered by the information on the website, or in this list of FAQs, please submit your questions directly to Nancy Hendry email: SongWestBamfield “at” gmail.com (remove the spaces, replace “at” with @)

Karla Mundy is not an organizer for this event, and as she is fielding questions for her own events we would ask that you please not overload her inbox with SongWest questions. Thank you on her behalf ~ Nancy

What do the fees cover?

  • Bus transportation to/from Nanaimo with pick-ups at Departure Bay ferry terminal, Northfield and Upper Highway “park and go”, or Port Alberni (if necessary)
  • Stop at Pachena Bay with time to walk the beach, see the West Coast Trail head, view the Pachena Bay Campground
  • Visit the House of Huu-ay-aht Longhouse, see the welcoming totem poles, visit the HFN Government Building
  • Ferry service across the inlet to McKay Bay Lodge, and the Rix Centre
  • Wine and cheese reception for Friday evening Meet and Greet Happy Hour
  • Accommodations for 3 nights at McKay Bay Lodge
  • Meals: Full breakfast, bagged lunches, full served dinners
  • Tuition for a weekend full of singing! Mass choir, 2 classes X 3, optional evening masterclass, student/faculty concert at the Rix Centre at Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre
  • An afternoon free to explore Bamfield

How many people are going to SongWest?

There will be 30 spots for non-Bamfield residents, and 10 spots reserved for Bamfield residents.

What if I don’t get registered in the first 30 people?

  • You may choose to be on a wait list in the event there are cancellations

I have trouble paying the total fee now, for an event in September

  • We want you to be able to come. If you require financial assistance, please contact SongWest and we will work on a payment plan – probably 3 post-dated cheques
  • To be fair to others, SongWest cannot reserve a place for you in the classes that are limited to 8 participants until full payment is received

What is the road like to Bamfield?

The road from Port Alberni to Bamfield is ~ 76km gravel logging road with public access. Average driving time is ~1.5-2 hours depending on road conditions. The condition of the road depends upon the time of year, the weather, and how often it has been graded. 90% of the time it is very driveable in a car. In the worst conditions, it is muddy and full of pot holes. In the “dry” season, it can be very dusty. This road is “usually” well maintained.

Can I drive my own vehicle and save money by not taking the bus?

The cost for the bus, which is a 47 passenger coach, is expensive for SongWest to hire. However, SongWest is providing this service to you at half price. On an individual basis, this is cheaper than it costs in gas to make the trip. It also provides you with the peace of mind of not navigating the road on your own. We will be looking at the need for this bus next year, so we will be interested in comments from you on our evaluation sheet as to the value it has added to your participation in this year’s event.

What are the accommodations?

McKay Bay Lodge www.mckaybaylodge.com

Please access the website for information and photos

  • Rooms are based upon double (or triple) occupancy – indicate by name the person(s) you wish to room with
  • Rooms have twin, bunk beds, double, or queen size beds. Most rooms have a double or queen + a twin bed.
  • Sorry, no I cannot give you all a queen size bed in a room with a view, please don’t ask me – not even for a bottle of single malt scotch
  • All linens are provided. Rooms do have 3 piece ensuites.
  • There are 3 rooms that have a small kitchenette on the ground floor of the main lodge. These rooms sleep 3 people and we will need to use these for SongWest
  • At this time, we will not be able to offer any single accommodation options due to the popularity of this event

 Can I choose to stay at a campground in Bamfield and save money on accommodation? Can I stay at an alternate lodge in Bamfield?

  • Not this first year, sorry.
  • The event is being hosted at McKay Bay Lodge on the west side of Bamfield Inlet. The logistics for getting to and from the campgrounds given our schedule is too problematic.
  • In order to book the entire lodge, which is the only lodge with separate buildings for our classes, we are obliged to book with them. They have provided accommodation with meals at an event cost which is far below market value and you would not be able to find anything cheaper on your own
  • We are keeping all options in mind if SongWest becomes an annual event – especially if we can host SongWest at the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre
  • There are two campgrounds: Pachena Beach Campground 6km from Bamfield, and Centennial Park Campground which is in Bamfield – you might still choose to extend your visit and camp before or after the SongWest weekend

I want to bring my significant other, (child, dog) who does not want to participate in SongWest

  • This is an adult only event. No pets please.
  • At this time, we anticipate needing the space for SongWest participants.
  • IF we sell out all available space at the lodge, and IF there are unfilled local participant spots still available, we might be able to find alternate accommodation at another lodge on the west side in which case you might be able to bring your partner. Please contact Nancy directly so that we can determine on a case by case basis if this is possible
  • McKay Bay Lodge can offer meals to people staying at another location only IF they have space

 Do my fees cover water taxi to/from McKay Bay Lodge?

  • Yes, McKay Bay Lodge have their own boats to ferry guests across Bamfield Inlet
  • We will also be having our student/faculty concert at the Rix Centre, Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre (BMSC) and your fees will also cover getting you to and from BMSC

 I have some mobility issues. Should I come?

  • Feel free to contact SongWest admin (Nancy Hendry) if you want to discuss your specific needs; you may know best what you are capable of
  • There is no wheelchair access for this event, at least not this year
  • It is necessary to climb in and out of boats to cross the inlet.
  • McKay Bay Lodge does entail climbing some stairs to get from the dock to the lodge
  • There are no paved roads on the west side. Expect some uneven terrain and some hills
  • If you cannot make the walk to visit Brady’s Beach, the SongWest administrator will do what we can to accommodate, in finding a ride to the beach
  • If you cannot walk the hill from the dock to the Rix Centre, the SongWest administrator will do what we can to accommodate, in finding a ride on the east side to take you to the concert venue

 Bus Pick-up and Parking

  • If there are people coming from the mainland, the bus will do a pick-up at Departure Bay ferry terminal
  • Nanaimo: A second pick-up will be at the “park and go” at the upper highway and Northfield Road
  • Port Alberni: if there are people coming from up island, the best option if you cannot get a ride to Nanaimo, will be for you to drive to Port Alberni. There is free parking at the train station at the base of Argyle near the Quay. Commonly used by people traveling to Bamfield by ship as a place to park their cars while they are in Bamfield.
  • Duncan or Victoria: There will not be a bus pick up south of Nanaimo. Departure Bay ferry terminal parking is $12/24 hours; bus will pick up and deliver to the ferry terminal.
  • parkopedia

 I am a Bamfield resident, can I just drop in for one class?

  • No individual classes are offered for drop in.
  • Like SongRoots, we anticipate that SongWest will create its own community of singers. The fun of sharing – from vocal warm-ups and mass choir in the morning to evening Masterclasses and whatever spontaneous fun happens later