WORDS; Rod Campbell
PHOTOGRAPHY: Lauren Young for Betty and Kora
In a few days, I’ll be loading up my car with subpar camping supplies and a bag of ridiculous thrift store finds, including a bright blue Pakistani-made muumuu, and heading inland for Bass Coast. This showcase of electronic music and art is now in its 9th year, but this will be my first time attending. To be honest, my knowledge of electronic music is relatively low. I’m a hip-hop head who spent 7 years playing keyboards in a rock band. That’s not to say that I don’t love most of the electronic music I’ve been exposed to. I’m familiar with a few acts on this year’s lineup, but am incredibly excited to fall in love with the unfamiliar. After chatting with people who have been, and reading numerous articles online, these are the 5 things I am most looking forward to at Bass Coast.
1. The Other Side of Town
Bass Coast is held in Merritt, B.C., an old ranching, mining and forestry town nestled in the Nicola Valley. The valley and river are named after one of the region’s most important and influential First Nations chiefs, Nicola, who is known for maintaining peace in the Okanagan during the fur trade era. In my touring days, Merritt was a place to fuel up and grab snacks for the road. I expect there is much more to the town, and I can’t wait to meet the residents of the valley and hear their stories. At just over 3,000 attendees, the small size of the festival should be conducive to those intimate, unplanned moments of connection between festival-goers. And after a few late-night heart-to-hearts by the river, I’m sure I’ll be scouring the local real estate listings.
2. The Built Environment
When I see photos of festivals like Bass Coast, I am in awe of the elaborate stage design and accompanying feats of architectural creativity. From what I’ve heard, Bass Coast’s team seamlessly blends festival structures with the local landscape, creating otherworldly and immersive audio-visual environments to lose yourself in the music..the moment..you own it…Anyway, there are bound to be pieces I can physically interact with (play on) and I can’t wait to unleash my inner 6-year old – minus the nappy rat tail. I’m also looking forward to what I won’t see, namely, a barrage of corporate advertising. Bass Coast is artist-owned and operated and prioritizes the festival experience over profit maximization. I love that.
3.Exercising My Body & Brain
Bass Coast features two branches of workshops, those to move your body, and those to stimulate your brain. Much like the musical roster, the workshop hosts are both international and local, and the options are diverse.
On the movement side, I’m looking forward to the Street Styles workshop hosted by Portland-based dance crew, Soul Trigger. I am in desperate need of some new dance moves and these guys are masters of their craft. They’ve been popping, strutting, tutting, hitting and krumping all around the world. While I haven’t heard of half those techniques, you can bet I’ll have amateur versions of them in my repertoire by the end of the session.
Each year, Bass Coast has a theme. This year it’s space. Keeping in line with that theme, UVic professor Kim Venn will be leading a discussion about the existence of life on other worlds, and an astronomer from the Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics will be on site with a telescope to guide stargazers around the Merritt sky. It’s always refreshing to be reminded of our insignificance!
Street Styles – Radio, Saturday, 1:30 PM
Life On Other Planets? – The Brain, Saturday, 3:45 PM
4. The Music 🎵🔥
Among the many reasons that Bass Coast is sold out, the expertly curated musical lineup ranks near the top. I’ve literally been listening to the Bass Coast 2017 Spotify playlist all day – and I could keep going. I know I will be amply rewarded by the music (pun intended). I know I should wear earplugs at least some of the time, but I’m not going to. I know that as soon as I feel the bass in my chest, my hips will have their own agenda. The one thing I don’t know – which acts will leave the greatest impression on me. But I’ll be sure to let you know in my festival recap article
5. My Home at Bass Coast
I am lucky enough to be camping with and assisting a team of inspiring entrepreneurs. My love/life partner is the owner of Zaleska Jewelry. She has teamed up with Here & Now Botanicals and The Starchild Tarot to host REVAMP, a babelicious boho boutique that will be operating alongside a myriad of talented artisan vendors. After a day, night and early morning of partying, I can take comfort knowing I’ll be dancing home with these beauties to rest up for the next day’s adventure.
Well, that’s my list! If you know of other things a first-timer should check out, or get excited for, let me know in the comments below! COUNTDOWN TO LIFTOFF..5…4…3…