WORDS: Emily Vance
PHOTOGRAPHY: Banana Cam
Family vibes were in full effect at the BASS COAST 10 Year Anniversary Showcase this past Sunday night in Vancouver. This ultimate teaser of a party saw the Commodore Ballroom packed to the brim, overflowing with faces from near and far.
A carefully curated aesthetic, elegant yet simple, has always been a core component of the Bass Coast experience. This Sunday was no different, with a backdrop of fluttering streamers recalling breezy midnights spent at Main Stage, and lighting work crawling all over the stage-framing, fanned out wooden structures.
One of the best parts of getting the community together is seeing who comes out of the woodwork and reconnecting with people that you only get to see within the whirlwind of the festival experience. They serve as a reminder that those 3-5 days in July were more than just a shimmering vision in the dust. There are no ugly lights here: Bass Coast is one of those unicorn events where the crowd somehow becomes more beautiful when the dance floor is illuminated. For the first half of the night, anyway, until we become a collective of sweaty soup. A collective of sweaty soup united in core values of artistry and community, that is. And of course, BASS.
After a rousing back-to-back set featuring Vancouver’s legendary SHAHdjs, Portland’s Barisone took the stage to radiate smooth vibes and lay down some pure sex appeal in his signature style. Vancouver local and deep sounds tastemaker, Michael Red followed suit, reminding us that he is just as comfortable laying down hype-hour club sets as he is letting us marinate in 6am goop. Mat the Alien and The Librarian worked seamlessly together as always to close the night with a bang, trading off tunes and moving effortlessly from genre to genre like the pros that they are, with grace and style.
It’s always a treat to watch Bass Coast co-founder Andrea Graham (aka The Librarian) play, but another shining moment of the evening was her address to the crowd of 1,100 in the steamy venue. Heartwarming is one word to describe Andrea’s genuine thanks to the community, volunteers, crew, and staff, as she stood beside co-founder Liz Thompson. Her gratitude was sprinkled with reminders to keep pushing the community forward. Crystal Precious, MC extraordinaire, made sure to interject with a “thanks to the ladies for providing this platform,” which was met with cheers, whistles, and a host of parasols and hand fans lifted to the sweaty ceiling in approval.
This piece would also not be complete without a shout out to Flavio Pereira, the dancer who is now a Bass Coast staple. As he moved about the space with presence, prowess, and extreme physical control, the crowd stayed hooked on his every move, reacting to his movements as one. Pereira even managed to gracefully avoid the unsavoury actions of not one but several men (of questionable intoxication levels, may I add) who jumped on stage over the course of the night to try and steal his spotlight and invade his physical space. Flavio dodged their uncouth displays of objectification and came back at one of the men with a powerful high kick, essentially dancing him off stage.
A crucial part of this Bass Coast night out was the Harm Reduction team, again proving why they are international leaders in their field. The crew was there in peach shirts with big smiles, ready to provide help should anyone need it. It begs the question: when have you ever seen an in-house harm reduction team at a club? It also serves as a reminder that this community is something more than temporary, that the ethos the founders push forward will bleed into other events and become part of our cultural fabric.
Roots ran deep at the ten-year showcase of how far we’ve come together. As Andrea put it, “Chances are you’re standing very close to someone you love right now.”
After a party like that, sleep is pretty necessary. Don’t sleep too long, though: tickets for 2018 went on-sale on October 12th. With the hype this movement is generating, combined with the festival’s cap on patrons, they won’t last long.