Merritt, B.C. – Nestled in the mountains alongside the Coldwater River in rural British Columbia, Bass Coast is the Narnia of music festivals. Established in 2009, owned and operated by Canadian artists, this fully independent festival is known for its interactive art installations and strong festival community.
Despite its growing popularity, it has retained its boutique status and commitment to giving its patrons an intimate experience by capping ticket sales at 6,500 this year. With four themed stages, including the Cantina, which hosted a Boiler Room takeover, fans and artists alike were in for a very special and unique experience.
The 11th annual event – held this past July 13-14 – brought in over 130 heavy hitters from across the globe including Nightmares on Wax, Madam X, Orson, Courtesy, Alix Perez and Shanti Celeste. The lineup included more house music this year than in prior years with fans dancing to North American acts Claude VonStroke, DJ Heather, Skiiitour, Smalltown DJs, Noah Pred and Jubilee. Unlike larger festivals, the music never stops, DJs continue to spin tunes through sunrise at 7 a.m. each day.
DJ Times: How did Bass Coast get started?
Andrea Graham: Bass Coast started in 2009. My best friend, Liz Thompson, and I had been creating art together music, videos, all different types of projects in Squamish and Whistler in communities where we lived. We have had and have a strong community of artists around us there. We didn’t have any avenue for us to get together and have a platform, so we decided that we need to create one.
DJ Times: So how does this strong sense of community play out in your festival?
Graham: Bass Coast has a really strong sense of community and we’ve always tried to honor and foster that over the years. Our concept is that Bass Coast is sponsored by you and that is the audience, ticket holders, volunteers, artists, every single person here is what makes it happen. We’re an independent festival. I think by really creating that feeling of community, it allows people to feel that Bass Coast is theirs – so Bass Coast is sponsored by you.
DJ Times: What growing pains have you seen in your festival? Or what changes have you made. Someone mentioned you once had an edible stage?
Graham: [Laughs] Well, we ate the stage, so that was a growing pain. Yeah, it was amazing, that was year one. We had carrots, peas, different vegetables all planted in the stage. So, if you were hungry on the dancefloor the solution was right there. It was – it was great. But yes, we have experienced growing pains and the biggest one was in year five, because we started in Squamish. The festival grew and at the end of year four we could no longer use the site there and we had to find a new home for the festival and that was really difficult.
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