Bass Coast Festival is officially the coolest boutique festival in North America according to DJ Mags North American Awards for 2019. Located along an iconic river valley in Merritt, BC, Canada, this festival is catered to a more mature audience - and it shows. The diverse musical line up and ever increasing focus on visual & performance artists, lends its tastes to a more open-minded crowd. Don’t come here expecting the same old crowd pleasers, although a few of the musical acts have been on the lineup since the beginning. Bass Coast is owned & operated by the incredible female duo, Andrea Graham (also known as the Librarian) and Liz Thomson who is the Art Director for the festival. The feminine touch rings true throughout the festival, but you have to see it to feel it.
Let’s talk about the art at Bass Coast. Every year Bass Coast provides grants to around 50 different artists to be showcased at the festival. Probably the only other event that I know that does art this well is Burning Man. The majority of pieces featured at Bass Coast in recent years are interactive, which makes the experience that much more immersive for festival attendees. Not only do these interactive art pieces encourage a deeper relationship to the festival itself, but they often inspire festival goers to participate with each other - sparking conversation, laughter & human connection.
Let’s dive right into it. The musical lineup at Bass Coast is unlike any other festival in North America. Although bass is in their name, Bass Coast isn’t limited to only bass music, although I must say they do know how to do bass right. Here you can find a variety of other musical genres such as house, techno, disco and plenty of other artists that are nearly impossible to put a label on. This year Bass Coast is proud to host the first ever Canadian festival collaboration with Boiler Room. I don’t know about you, but I bump Boiler Room sets on the daily, so I can pretty much guarantee that the music will be TOPSSSSS at this years fest. I can’t wait to look totally unimpressed in the background while an epic set plays (jokes). My best advice for those who are unfamiliar with the eclectic Bass Coast lineup is to dive right in at each stage. Don’t stand around the peripherals trying to assess if the music is your jam or not. Get amongst the crowd, stop thinking for a moment and just let the music take you on a journey.
Although I highly recommend making it out to at least one sunrise set at every festival, don’t miss out on the amazing offerings Bass Coast has during the day. From mind-expanding workshops at The Brain on topics ranging from astronomy to Ayurvedic cooking, to movement based workshops that can teach you all you ever wanted to know about twerking. If you’re feeling a bit drained from the night before, a float down the river is also always a viable option to hit the refresh button. Or browse the artisan vendors and find something special to tie your look together.
Every year Bass Coast has a unique theme which ties the whole festival together. This years theme is DUALITY. It’s always a treat to arrive at the festival grounds and see how Liz & Andrea have curated the festival to represent the theme. But not only does the festival itself highlight the theme, this is where the festival attendees really show their creativity and personality. The thought and ingenuity that goes into group camps and individual costumes is always one of my favourite things to soak in at Bass Coast. Participation is where it’s at with this festival, so be sure to find your own way to contribute.
Bass Coast is happening July 12-15, 2019 in Merritt BC. The festival is sold out but if you are seeking a ticket be sure to check out the official Bass Coast Ticket Exchange on Facebook.
Photos & article by Bree Zimmerman (Breeze Photography).