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Q&A with The Librarian - Director of Bass Coast Festival

As we're gearing up for this year's Bass Coast Electronic Music and Arts Festival in Merritt, BC (July 7-10), we caught up with director and co-founder of the festival, Andrea Graham AKA The Librarian, to ask her a few questions about the line up, themes, and future of the festival. It's no secret that everyone in the Night Vision camp are huge supporters and lovers of this amazing festival in BC, and many of us would call it our favourite festival in the world. We're honoured to be a part of it for the second year now. Catch the Night Vision Showcase slot on Friday of this year's edition.

Andrea Graham AKA The Librarian.

Andrea Graham AKA The Librarian.


Q:    We really love the theme aspect of the festival that Bass Coast does every year. Can you tell us how the idea to incorporate themes came about, and how you arrive at each one? Are there special meetings? Do you base it off stage design plans, or does the theme come first and then everything else afterward? Do artist bookings play into it at all?

A:    Thanks, we have a lot of fun with the themes. Some years they come really easily and some years it takes months to decide on the theme.  We are always looking for something that inspires participation and the easiest way to do that is through fashion; such as year of the zebra and gold.  Sometimes the themes have a deeper meaning like Mutiny which was about breaking the status quo and discovering your own creativity.  Often the theme inspires the main stage design and is incorporated into some of the site decor.  This year we released the theme in early fall so many of our art installations are also utilizing Space as inspiration.  

The Slay Bay Stage at 2016's Gold-themed edition of Bass Coast.

The Slay Bay Stage at 2016's Gold-themed edition of Bass Coast.

Q:    What are the main things that you and your team look for in an artist when curating the line up each year? 

A:    We look for originality, ability to work the dance floor, quality of original productions, and whether or not their style fits with our approach to the time slot we have available.  We always build a schedule first and fill it with a style guide. We use this guide to ensure that each stage has a unique sound at any one time.  We always want thereto be different types of music at each stage.

The Librarian on the Bass Coast Main Stage.

The Librarian on the Bass Coast Main Stage.

Q:    We’ve noticed on multiple occasions you have had the same performers play multiple sets under different aliases--for example with Machinedrum also playing as Aden last year, this year with Paul Woolford also playing as Special Request, and several other past examples. Is this something you look for specifically when booking artists, or do you simply take the opportunities as they come available?

A:    We love when artists have diverse creative output however it’s not something we specifically look for when booking.  That said, Machinedrum has played Bass Coast under many aliases over the years.  We’ve seen him as JETS and also as Sepalcure and each show was really unique.  We were also fortunate to book Ivy Lab last year who both played additional solo sets as Stray and Sabre.  That was the first time Sabre had played solo in 5 years and it was really amazing!  I can’t wait to hear both Paul Woolford / Special Request sets this year!

The Librarian at Lightning In A Bottle.

The Librarian at Lightning In A Bottle.

Q:    It's been great watching the festival progress and evolve since the move to Merritt. What about Bass Coast's current trajectory are you most proud of? What are you currently most excited for looking into the future?

A:    We are most proud of the type of people that Bass Coast has attracted.  It’s a really unique community that is open minded and creative and fun.  We are also really excited to be on the radar for many international artists and each year the interest grows.  Our goal for the future is to maintain the delicate balance between growth and protecting the ‘vibe’ of Bass Coast.   

The Night Vision Showcase at Bass Coast 2016.

The Night Vision Showcase at Bass Coast 2016.

Q:    How do you picture the festival 5 years from now? Where do you see things going from here?

A:    In 5 years we hope to have developed more permanent infrastructure on the property which would allow Bass Coast to develop more year round opportunities.  We see the attendance carefully growing.  We also love finding ways for people to interact with the festival throughout the year and we have many ideas bubbling up that will support this goal.
 

The tree on the hill at Bass Coast, an iconic landmark of the festival.

The tree on the hill at Bass Coast, an iconic landmark of the festival.