02 July 2022 – 14:57
A huge outdoor electronic music festival is set to come to Merritt next week and with it comes the largest temporary arts installation in the province.
Zan Comerford, head of media and marketing at the Bass Coast Electronic Music and Art Festival, said teams are on hand preparing for the festival which will see thousands of attendees from July 8-11.
Tickets are sold out and this year the festival will have two new stages, a new reserved camping area and a new site layout, she said.
“The energy and excitement is really high. People are very excited for this reunion. Artists like A-Ro the Naut, AIDA and Alter Echo & E3 will be on stage.
The Government of Canada has funded the festival’s harm reduction services, but this year the festival is funding itself after the program ends, she said. Bass Coast will not comment on the cost of services.
Amid the overdose crisis in British Columbia, harm reduction services are becoming more commonplace at festivals. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has encouraged drug checking services as well as the carrying of naloxone kits at events, a stark contrast to 20 years ago when drug checking was a secret and clandestine service.
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Bass Coast has consistently provided harm reduction services and has expanded the offering this year, Comerford said.
“We now have harm reduction services available Wednesday, Thursday and throughout the festival,” she said.
Harm reduction includes education and consumption, a sanctuary space where people can rest, and a sober resort that holds two daily meetings for sober support. At the back of each dance floor, lifeguard-like towers are raised above the platforms to keep dancers safe. Drug testing facilities are also on site.
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The Bass Coast Art Installations Programme, which provides funding for artists to create art and bring it to the location, will see 58 installations and eight live artists next week, making it the largest installation temporary art center and the largest installation to date for the festival since it launched the program in 2008.
“All of these 58 installations are interactive so participants can interact with them in some way,” Comerford said.
“Bass Coast is an artist-owned and operated event and it’s a milestone for public art in general and for the industry. The installation artists haven’t had a big showcase for their art at the years,” she said. Artists from all over the world will visit the site.
For more information on the festival, visit its website.
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