For four short days in July 2019, around seven thousand people piled into the Nicola Valley and gave their whole hearts in an unadulterated, all out ode to expression. Bass Coast 2019 came and went in a dazzling blur that - once again - left all of us with stars in our eyes, glowing smiles plastered to our faces, and hearts that were full to the brim. The festival so consistently delivers such a unique experience; Equal parts inspired, and inspiring. But how do they do it?!
What is it about Bass Coast that makes us, as attendees, feel such a lasting shine, year after year? What is it that makes us, as artists and creators, come away feeling inspired to go deeper, be braver, and give ourselves to our passions? These are the questions at the heart of this investigation.
It’s taken members of the Night Vision family damn near a decade of Bass Coast experiences to get at the heart of these questions - and look, we’ll be the first to tell you, it’s been a distinct pleasure to have grown up alongside North America’s Best Boutique Festival... That being said, it’s been no small task figuring out just how Bass Coast went from being the West Coast’s little sweetheart to becoming internationally recognized as the best festival in its class. It involves a winding trail of contemplation and an examination of an intangible concept. Before we get to that though, we’d like to provide a brief history.
Over the years, Bass Coast has seen two festival sites. A move of that sort would typically doom a young festival, but yet Bass Coast thrived! They left the serene shoreline of Squamish and nestled into the Merritt hillside, where we’ve since witnessed and appreciated numerous yearly improvements to the flow and feeling of the site. As attendees, we’ve seen the festival well over double in capacity since the Squamish years, and even the first year in Merritt. Here at the Night Vision Press Core, we’ve been lucky enough to have been there almost every step of the way.
My friends, we think we’ve finally figured out how it is that Bass Coast leads the charge, every. damn. year.
It’s the vibe.
This was its eleventh edition, and what was once a small gathering of somewhat familiar smiles is now a much larger group of friendly faces. Somehow, the little-big festival still feels the same… It’s different, and no doubt better, but yet - the same. Why, you ask?
It’s the vibe.
This year, we were lucky enough to join an intimate gathering of the festival’s various media outlets and witness an enlightening Q&A session with Bass Coast’s founders Andrea Graham and Liz Thomson. Among many difficult questions, they were asked what it is about their festival that makes it so darn special. And after surveying so many friends and attendees over the years, there is one overwhelming response that they get. Ya, you know it.
It’s the vibe!
They laugh about it, because ‘the vibe’ is a rather mystifying concept, isn’t it?
How does someone capture the vibe? Once you have the vibe, can you hold onto it? If too many people know you have the vibe, can you keep the vibe?
The ever-humble founders graciously give credit to us, the people of Bass Coast, for cultivating the vibe. Of course, we the people, can’t cultivate a damn thing without the foundation that they, the organizers, builders, talent bookers, performers and countless volunteers lay at our feet.
So, with that said, we’re proud to say that we have figured out the vibe paradox.
The vibe is feeding into itself like a positive feedback loop. The only thing that can create more vibe is vibe itself.
The vibe is in the flow of the river, the vibe drives the art and how we experience it, the vibe breathes life into the stages, the vibe is woven into the way you express yourself and how you experience the scenery, and the vibe manifests itself triumphantly in the music.
So, in summation, YOU, dear Bass Coaster, inspire and create the vibe, knowingly and unknowingly. Therefore, you are the very thing that makes us, as attendees, feel such a lasting shine year after year. You are precisely what it is about Bass Coast that makes us, as artists and creators, come away each year feeling inspired to go deeper, be braver, and give ourselves to our passions.
We all owe Bass Coast a gratitude for letting you be you.
From the good folks here at Night Vision, thank you Bass Coast! We think we can speak for everyone when we say that we’re excited to see what we all create next year ;)