Six years ago, three spry young gentlemen stepped into the Calgary offices of PK Sound eager to share news of their big yellow labour of love in a barn somewhere outside of Linden, Alberta – the soon-to-be BassBus.
By the reckoning of Baran Faber, Joel Ferguson and Gareth Rider, the Bus was a roving culture-enabling entity waiting to be unleashed on Western Canada. A mobile stage and event space inspired by a quickly flourishing underground art and music scene. “We were completely inspired by the growing electronic music community around us,” Baran Faber explains.
“We were religiously attending Modern Math every week and spending our summers touring the festival circuit. We were so stoked on what was happening that we wanted to find a way to contribute. The original concept of BassBus was of a vehicle to build community and help connect people to all the different events and shows that were already taking place. Aside from that, the Bus would be a mobile stage powered by an onboard battery bank so that we could quickly and easily setup a stage and make a party happen anywhere the Bus would go.”
With some badly rendered 3D drawings, a half-torn apart 1993 International school bus cooling its jets halfway to Drumheller, and three heads full of big ideas, the three boys spilled the beans to Trevor Grenier and Arlen Cormack in the PK office. While far from dismissive, it’s safe to call the reception from Trevor and Arlen both bemused and curious. A healthy blend of “wait and see” with “are these guys for real?” would likely have been a fair assertion at the time.
Though somewhat daunting, the conclusion for the three young upstarts was nonetheless exciting – they may just be on to something, and they had a lot of work to bear down on if they wanted to prove their crazy idea.
As BassBus grew and took on its idiosyncratic style, tone and penchant for community engagement, the links to PK Sound continued to grow slow and steady. Cost initially prevented the Bus team from investing in a full PK PA system, so some weatherbeaten old Mackies and a second hand Long & McQuade rental subwoofer stood strong to build parties and events in those first nervous years.
Yet the team at PK Sound, festival and party veterans they were, continued to foster the young BassBus team. “We’ve supported this concept from day one – it’s original, creative, and community-driven.” Paul Magnuson, PK’s head of development recalls. “These guys and girls continue to impress us every time they come up with something new. Calgary is lucky to have this crew, and we are even luckier to be a part of this movement.”
Strong personal connections complemented passionate ideas to bring BassBus and their core team in close contact for shows throughout the early ‘10s. As fervent attendees of Shambhala Music Festival, teaming up with that festival’s core sound team was an early dream come true. The Bus and its team of passionate guys and gals shuttled and hosted Bassnectar, Bonobo and artists playing the Cabana Stage at Motion Notion in 2012.
As BassBus crafted its events on a larger scale with Circle The Wagons in 2014 and 2015, and Bass Coast since 2012, PK Sound was there as technical production crew. As two identities, one well established, the other becoming so, PK and BassBus have always alternated roles as mentor, partner, investor, friend and dance floor resident. As the summer of 2016 yawns into existent with the all-too-slow bloom of spring, PK and BassBus are also unveiling a new mobile production vehicle: the BassBus Band Wagon.
As the venerable BassBus continues its role as shuttle, conference room, lounge and party space for Western Canadians, the Band Wagon will execute technical event stage and PA for the citizens and merchants of Calgary and beyond. It will roll fully loaded with PK’s tried and true gear for mobile popup events from fundraisers to block parties. Live music, DJs, dance music and all manner of performances, circus and dance are fair game. As you amble around Calgary, Alberta, British Columbia and beyond this summer season of 2016, you will more thank likely witness the Band Wagon, adorable dancing men and all, at an event near you – the physical manifestation of a long standing PK-BassBus relationship, one that’s been a very long time coming.