@ MERRITT, BRITISH COLUMBIA
JULY 12-15, 2019
Bass Coast is a thoughtfully curated boutique music and art festival. This year’s theme of duality was expressed throughout the weekend, “…in a world of duality where opposite forces exist in nature and in ourselves. Silence, sound, lost, found, in contrast, in balance. What dark is to light.”Upon entering the main festival grounds, one is greeted by a plethora of options, from the galactic roller disco platform with old school feels that transport you back to the ‘70s, to a food-truck-surrounded communal eatery with a giant moon hanging in the center, giving a spacey feel. The atmosphere is dripping in sweet electronic music throughout – with various stages such as the Cantina stage – which held Boiler Room recordings, Slay Bay stage – sporting a giant floating floral ceiling to set the mood, Radio stage – decked out in old school-looking satellite decor, and of course, the Main stage – with streamers hovering over the giant field. Bass Coast is a true adult’s playground. Here, everything goes. There are no limits. It is overwhelmingly stimulating. Everywhere you look, costumes are pushing boundaries, making it hard to look away. As stated by festival-goer Ryan, “lots of women have taken their costumes up a bunch and you can tell they’re having a great time expressing themselves in a fashion sense.” Hula hoops, kites, bikes, and twirling batons. Festival participants can be whoever they want to be. The expansive body of water, Coldwater River, is overflowing with joy. The best part is that you can actually float from your campsite down the water and end up at Slay Bay or Radio stage, just in time to soak up the sun and of course, those beats. It’s a magical experience that is like no other. With a focus on sustainability, harm reduction, and respect, Bass Coast ensures a safe space for all. It is a haven of all things art. Bass Coast offers Movement workshops: Contact Improvisation Dance, Foam Roll and Stretch, Gentle Hatha Yoga, Hoop Play, Laughter Yoga, Intuitive Breathwork Journey, Twerkshop, Moon Salutations, Somatic Yoga Flow, to name a few. And some topics of the Brain workshops: Balancing Your Creativity, Career, & Mental Health, Biotech for the Planet, Cedar Weaving Friendship Bracelets, Consent at Music Festivals, Duality of the Mind, Festival Ayuverdic Care, Gender and Sexuality 101, Mixing Electronic Music, and plenty more. Art installations and a range of structures placed carefully throughout the forest are curated by a small team. Dave is one of the Art Grant Managers – helping to choose all of the art installations at the festival. “We receive hundreds of applications and need to carefully select the most fitting pieces. Each one is paired with a description and story of this year’s theme, duality.” Artists arrive a few days before the festival begins in order to build their pieces from scratch. Some artists even change their artwork every day with collaborative participation from festival attendees. You can find mixed media such as video mapping and the use of multiple interactive projectors. From a suspended treehouse, to collaborative murals and agriculture-based green space, the art selection was on point. One of the most provoking pieces was Monolith of Smiles created by Dave Petko and Tanya Kong, a tower built of skulls with rainbow-coloured teeth. With a beautifully written description, part of the plaque read, “…We leave this earth the same as we’re born into it, stripped of our physical bodies and all material possessions. All that remains of us are bones of hardened calcium and dust, yet the memories of how we make a lasting and loving impact live on in every moment inspired by the same…Monolith of Smiles is about honoring each of our journeys to find everlasting peace, appreciating the value that all duality provides and remembering that in pursuing our BEST and most-loving self; we absolutely inspire others to do the same.” Festival-goer and volunteer, Elliot, gave us some insight on his previous experiences at the festival, “there is so much growth at Bass Coast. This year there’s around 6,000 tickets sold. A few years ago, I remember it being 3,000. I stayed up late to see Lazy Syrup Orchestra – they’re amazing! The lineup on Saturday and Sunday is more what I’m looking forward to. At this point, I’m most excited to see Claude Vonstroke. From what I’ve seen, this year is their biggest lineup. Alix Perez is also quite popular. Bass coast has a lot of female djs which is awesome and focus on more local talent – you see lots of acts you recognize from around BC and Canada.” Of course, there is a lot of behind-the-scenes work. And without all the support, Bass Coast wouldn’t be what it is. There are about 700 volunteers this summer. Carla, festival-goer and volunteer, spoke to Spill Magazine about her experience as a volunteer, “I was checking in staff and artists into the gate. It is really well organized, something I appreciate. I met so many interesting people at the check in. It’s a lot of responsibility, especially when there are floods of people coming in. Learning about the inner workings of a festival was a really unique experience. For example, something as simple as how wristbands and tokens are managed. I also got the opportunity to meet festival organizers, something that I wouldn’t have been able to do if I didn’t volunteer. I’d be more than happy to do it again next year!”
And with that wrap up, we are confident in saying that we will most certainly be attending Bass Coast again in 2020!