The Prism theme of 2018 turned out to be a real treat for attendees, embraced and interpreted in many different ways by nearly everyone at the festival. The idea of a yearly theme of the festival (with other recent examples including Zebra, Space, Gold, Pirate, Tentacular, etc.) may seem frivolous on the surface, but the way it transforms Bass Coast into a completely new experience every year is remarkable. It’s really tough to get bored of this festival when the scenery all but transforms from year to year. From the stages, and the décor, to the festival goers outfits and body paint- The organizers and the attendees really go all in each year. As a festival goer, it really makes you feel like you’re part of the show. Like you’re a part of the whole, cohesive picture, rather than just a spectator. It must be extremely difficult to select a great theme every year, but Bass Coast knocked it out of the park again with this one. The Prism theme was so much more than just rainbow outfits.
What needs to be said about that river?! It is the womb from which life itself is birthed, (or re-birthed) on the Bass Coast grounds. The glorious, winding river single handedly gives life back to an exhausted bunch of partiers and it’s always at a good temperature for a dip. There’s nothing like that first dunk to shake off that haze that accompanied you upon waking to a pre-heating oven-tent. And how about the vibe on that last stretch of the river near Slay Bay? Forget about it! That energy is revitalizing, in itself! Oh river, how can we count the many ways we love thee?
The Local Talent
It’s rare to come out of a festival and hear the majority of goers claiming their favourite set was by a local DJ/producer as opposed to one of the headliners, but Bass Coast somehow pulls it off consistently. The headliners were great this year, but there were just so many amazing sets this year delivered by the local crews of BC and Alberta to fill in the rest of the schedule. There was almost never a lull of interesting and effective DJing going around at all times of day. It’s easy to see that much more careful thought and process goes into the selection of local talent at Bass Coast than your typical small to medium sized festival. Honourable mentions go out to Lorne B, Max Ulis, Sergio SP, Dane, Ryan Wells, Esette, Sabota, MA/AM, Re:Me, and Jah Raven.
The Porta Potties
Hang on, let us explain. The age-old problem at every music festival seems to always be the porta potties. There are never enough of them, and they don’t get cleaned often enough. Everybody poops. It’s an inconvenient fact. And having to go to a porta potty (#1 or #2) is an experience that can be made very unpleasant (or even traumatic) with a long wait time or a very unclean environment. We are very pleased with Bass Coast and how much they invest into making this experience a good one on both counts. Having to miss 20 minutes of your favourite DJ just to wait in a line up really sucks. Props where props is due! Thank you Bass Coast for not making anyone do that.
The Art Installations
The installations at Bass Coast, nestled prominently in the forest, are like wandering a dream world between the stages. The ingenuity and creativity on display each year is truly fascinating. Bass Coast puts up more grant money for artists than most festivals of comparable size, and it definitely shows. Many of the artists and designers tend to hang out near their pieces and interacting with them can also inspire attendees to go from ‘spectator’ to ‘contributor’ within the year; to bring that big idea to life. The installations are one more piece of the enduring inspiration that we, and many, many other artists take home from Bass Coast each year.
The Radio Stage
The concept behind the Radio Stage just works so well that there’s no need to change it very much from year to year anymore. It feels like home for us now, and it’s always a lovely site to look at, day or night. Huge props to the BassBus crew for their hard work every year. Like the UFO that was crashed into the top last year, the addition of hanging lit up prisms throughout the forest this year really added to the presence and feel of the environment. These prisms were completed by two hidden ones that would lift up from behind the main pillars at night time for an added treat. The balcony up top not only fit some amazing dancers, but the second level also housed Bass Coast Radio, which featured many great DJ sets on Thursday and Friday to greet festival goers upon arrival and admittance. The Night Vision crew was fortunate enough to play a set up there this year and it was a great time; a great idea in general.
The Babe Spa
How many festivals have you been to that have their own spa? Bass Coast is consistently putting itself ahead of the curve and the Babe Spa is one of many examples of how they’re doing it. Whether you want to get funky with some body paint, makeup, and hairstyling, or just lay back and relax with a massage they got you covered all weekend. The Babe Spa is a one stop sanctuary to rejuvenate your body and feel fresh. We recommend keeping tabs for next year and booking early because the slots tend to fill up super quick!
Headliners Scheduled During the Day
Is there a rule written somewhere that states that the most expensive acts booked at a festival must play during the best night time slots? Based on every other festival schedule, you would think so, but Bass Coast makes a point to break this rule. Like the Justin Martin daytime Slay Bay madness of last year, Bass Coast chose to put Boston heroes Soul Clap in that coveted 3-hour Sunday slot this year. Nothing beats a good daytime party in the sunshine! It also gives festival goers the chance to see a favourite of theirs deliver a totally different set than what they would normally play at night time or in a club. Some other bigger names from out of country that were scheduled in the middle of the day included Prosumer and Pezzner (as part of a Hunt & Gather label showcase).
The number and quality of vendors onsite seemed to be on a whole new level this year. Whether you are in need of some vintage outfits, some leather creations, jewellery, sunglasses, shoes, hats, bags, or festival wear- the shops at Bass Coast this year were stocked and styled. There were so many awesome ones housing some of the coolest items we’ve ever seen on a festival ground. It’s nice to see the advancement of festival culture and style through these shops over the years. They keep getting better and better!
Bass Coast does such a phenomenal job of gradual, manageable growth, while harbouring the ever-influential vibe that started it all. What began 10 years ago as a small gathering focused on music and the arts community has indeed expanded, with this year’s festival hosting 1000 more attendees than 2017. The great thing is, even with a record high attendance each year, you always see the same crews, the same totems, the same familiar smiles and styles… Something about Bass Coast keeps you coming back, year after year; it’s tapped into a vibe that seems to resonate with a radically open, endlessly interesting bunch of people. It’s a community that Night Vision is certainly excited to contribute to and witness each coming year.