Best known for being of Canada’s premier multidisciplinary festivals, Bass Coast is an eclectic offering of emerging electronic music, art, ideas, and technology. The vision that Bass Coast has implemented is the idea that their festival “exists outside of typical festival formats by continuously evolving and expanding its vision of innovation, education, community, and creation”. We caught up with Robbie Slade, frontman of the popular Vancouver band HUMANS & titled this year as Marketing Director/Creative Manager for Bass Coast. Take a read below about what to expect this weekend & how far the festival has grown in six short years;

Bass Coast Project is now in its 6th year as a festival that brings an eclecticism to the festival scene that’s unique to its counterparts like Shambhala, Tall Tree & Burning Man. What are the challenges of continuing its growth & reputation while the festival market has grown exponentially in North America & specifically the Canadian West Coast?

Robbie: We’re looking to grow the depth of the experience instead of just growing number of bodies. We like being the little’s big festival on the West Coast. It allows us to book underground niche artists and do what we want! Ha. That’s why we cap our attendance. 

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This year, there was a huge community outreach from Bass Coast fans & artists specifically on social media outlets that brought focus to the brand. What has been the response in this venture to reach out & bring eyes to the festival?

Robbie: To be honest most, of the home runs in marketing this year were flukes. Ha for real! The profile pic as our logo was a meme. There were hundreds if not thousands of people who had their profile picture as our logo. It just started from people on our marketing team doing it and it caught fire.

And for the headdress ban we imposed — that wasn’t meant to be a marketing ploy. It was just something we wanted to do and we didn’t want people showing up with them. The media has been NUTS. We’re delighted with the thoughtful discussion surrounding this topic. So yeah, I guess we feel that the reach speaks to the support within our community. 

What has been your role with Bass Coast Project to date & how has your label, Hybridity been participating in the culture of the festival?

Robbie: I’m the creative manager. So I work with the creative director and design initiatives, and curate the content we use in marketing the festival. So I’m on site right now helping coordinate the film and photo teams so we can make cool videos for the winter. As For Hybridity — We have a solid showing of artist on the roster including Project Pablo, Humans, Sabota, Heartbeat(s) and probably someone I’m forgetting. Calamalka!

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In your opinion, how has Bass Coast reflected the music scene in British Columbia, and specifically — The local music scene of producers, bands & DJ’s here in Vancouver?

Robbie: Festivals like this a) give artists a summer job! It’s a huge part of our income. And B) — There is a ton of collaboration between artists at Bass Coast too! I started a project called Sabota with the infamous Max Ulis that started at Bass Coast.

How does Bass Coast integrate the multimedia arts mission presented to festival goers and artists?

Robbie: We give out $20,000 in art grants – every year. Artists are encouraged to collaborate and create one of a kind large format art installations that create anything from a vibey hangout zone, to a massive wooden tidal wave on main stage this year.

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What acts are you most excited to witness at this year’s festival & what are your visions for the future of the Bass Coast brand?

Robbie: Acts this year (for me personally):

  • Graze
  • Paleman
  • A Tribe Called Red
  • Michael Red (no relation)
  • Max Ulis
  • The Librarian

My Vision for the brand is to keep helping our Creative Director Liz Thompson be her zaney self and keep dreaming up the stuff she does dream up. I’m sitting here at the main stage as I write this and I’m filled with excitement for the first dancers to hit the dance floor. I guess It’s hard to think past the next few days!

Bass Coast kicks off TODAY (Aug 1-4th) in Merritt, B.C. Single-day passes available via their website.

– Karli Fahlman

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