Bass Coast Music Festival is a combination of all of our favorite things: dope beats, beautiful scenery, and friendly faces. But it’s not just the festival’s fine-tuned production or flawless talent booking that makes it so magical. The thing that sets Bass Coast festival apart is that it showcases talent that would be normally overshadowed by fancy, expensive production. Traveling from California (which is home to some of the most cutting-edge music festivals in the world), it’s refreshing to find a festival that holds our unwavering attention from start to finish, but still feels genuine.
The festival sold out this year before a lineup was even released. This proves that their audience knows and trusts the Bass Coast crew to deliver. This year Bass Coast welcomed 4,500 attendees, which was about 1,000 more than last year. With the increased capacity, the grounds felt full, yet operations flowed nonetheless.
The boutique festival nestled in the Merritt, BC river valley presents an enchanting vibe. Every attendee contributes in one way or another, whether it’s by performing, building, volunteering, contributing art, or just decorating his or herself. Because of this, every single person is mindful of why they are attending. This year’s theme was “Space”. Instead of spending budget on heavily designed graphics or flashy, futuristic stage design, they incorporated the theme with the subtle Bass Coast flair their audience knows and loves.
The main stage was elevated out of the back of a large existing barn structure, and housed a 3D fighter spaceship in front of a huge LED wall with an impressive lighting system. The second largest stage, Slay Bay, had a more intimate feel with a suspended shade structure above a circular dance floor, with the DJ booth only slightly elevated from the crowd. Projections dancing across the white, geometric stage front created a futuristic vibe that didn’t feel out-of-place in the natural surroundings.
The Radio stage is a local favorite every year, and is seemingly made out of scrap wood in true pirate fashion. This pirate-themed stage is where Bass Coast broadcasts their radio show to a local FM channel throughout the weekend. All of the stages were powered by PK sound and were thumping until the early hours of the morning with quality sounds in a variety of genres.
This year at Bass Coast was one of the more diverse musically. In past years, Bass Coast had been known for showcasing particular styles of bass-heavy electronic music. 2017 has been the year for house and techno in many parts of the festival world, and Vancouver seems to be no exception. The more user-friendly, booty-shaking genres were in full effect on each of the four stages throughout the weekend. Each of the stages hosted blocks of genres, instead of being dedicated to one sound all weekend. This was an improvement since kept the audience flowing between stages and allowed artists to showcase their sounds in new areas.
Justin Martin’s 3-hour set on Sunday afternoon at the Slay Bay stage was easily a highlight of the whole weekend. The energy of the crowd was infectious from start to finish, and Martin’s ability to seamlessly navigate through his multi-genre influences was impressive. The Shah DJs crew also held it down across the festival at the same time on Sunday. Each of the crew’s members brought their own signature flair to the 3 hour set, which travelled through the drum and bass–halftime–dubstep spectrum and back again.
Some of this year’s headlining acts included Enei, Kasra, Sam Binga, The Librarian, Shades, and an additional solo set from Alix Perez. As expected, each of the artists brought their A-game. The audience could hear the extra effort each put into fine-tuning their set before showcasing at Bass Coast.
More so than a “rave” or a “transformational festival,” Bass Coast is a collective that showcases both local and international talent in a safe, supportive space. It is a place where artists are encouraged to display and share their hard work without fear of judgment. One of the highlights of the weekend was closing out the Sunday sunrise with Bassos Rancheros selecting the sentimental sing-a-long: “Rocket Man” by Elton John. Even though this year’s theme was intergalactic, the vibe never seemed more down-to-earth. If there is intelligent, alien life out there, we hope they know how to party like Bass Coast.
"And I think it's gonna be a long long time
'Till touch down brings me round again to find
I'm not the man they think I am at home
Oh no no no
I'm a rocket man"