By Matthew Abrey
With massive international names such as Wu-Tang Clan, Juicy J, French Montana and Zedd, among many others filling the lineup at this year’s Center of Gravity festival, the sports portion of the weekend’s festivities may have been over-looked by some.
Taylor Hartman, a beach volleyball competitor, wants people to know that most cities would love to have a sports showcase such as the one featured at Center of Gravity, even without the music festival to go along with it.
“When people think of COG, they usually just think of the music and the wild party that goes with it,” says Hartman. “But there is so much more going on during the day that is family friendly, fun to watch and the competition level is pretty good, so people who don’t want to go to the music at night have something during the day that they can enjoy without having to worry about all the chaos and stuff at night.”
“Most cities would kill for something like this,” says Hartman.
Beach volleyball has been a staple at Center of Gravity since the festival’s inception in 2007, which originally bore the name VolleyFest, but a number of other sports have been added to the bill in recent years, including skateboarding, BMX, basketball and this year’s newcomer, rugby sevens.
Local division 3 rugby team, the Kelowna Cows, put together two teams for this year’s tournament, and were overjoyed to have their sport be recognized in the valley.
“It’s awesome,” says Cows player, Nic Batt. “Rugby sevens is a growing sport worldwide and it’s definitely one of the fastest paced games in the world and it’s definitely something that next year we’re hoping to promote more as a whole unit and get it going.”
This year’s inaugural tournament has also drawn attention from outside the Okanagan.
“We got a team from Fiji and the Canadian Coos here, so it’s definitely gonna be a great year,” says Batt.
“It’s something we want people to know more about, and COG is a perfect place to grow our sport in the Okanagan.”
Center of Gravity is marketed as “Canada’s Hottest Beach Festival” and in addition to bringing in over 30,000 people each year, pumps over $6 million into the local economy.
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