Merritt's Bass Coast festival expected to have largest temporary art installation in B.C. | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Merritt's Bass Coast festival expected to have largest temporary art installation in B.C.

People enjoying themselves at Bass Coast 2018.

A massive outdoor electronic music festival is set to take hold of Merritt next week and with it comes the province’s largest temporary art installation.

Zan Comerford, media and marketing manager with Bass Coast Electronic Music and Art Festival, said crews are on site setting up for the festival which will see thousands of attendees from July 8 to 11.

Tickets are sold out and this year the festival will have two new stages, new reserved camping area and a new site layout, she said.

FILE PHOTO - Bass Coast Electronic Music and Art Festival in 2019.
FILE PHOTO - Bass Coast Electronic Music and Art Festival in 2019.
Image Credit: Bass Coast/Vasho Pekar

“The energy and excitement is definitely very high. People are very excited for this reunion.” Performers like A-Ro the Naut, AIDA and Alter Echo & E3 will be hitting the stages.

The Government of Canada provided funding for the festival’s harm reduction services but this year the festival is funding themselves after the program ended, she said. Bass Coast will not comment on the cost of the services.

In the midst of B.C.’s overdose crisis, harm reduction services are becoming increasingly common at festivals. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry encouraged drug checking services as well as carrying naloxone kits at events, a stark contrast to 20 years ago when drug checking was a secret, underground service.

READ MORE: Bass Coast raises more than $20,000 to help with Merritt flood recovery

Bass Coast has always 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 has two daily meetings for sober support. At the rear of every dance floor, lifeguard-like towers are elevated above platforms to ensure dancers are safe. Drug testing facilities are also on site.

READ MORE: Shambhala was ahead of Canada in checking drugs at music festivals

The Bass Coast’s art installation program, which provides funding for artists to create art and bring it onsite,  will see 58 installations and eight live artists next week, making it the largest temporary art installation in the province and the biggest installation yet for the festival since it launched the program in 2008.

“All of those 58 installations are interactive so participants can interact with them in one way or another,” Comerford said.

“Bass Coast is an artist-owned and operated event and this is a big milestone for public art in general and for industry. Installation artists haven’t had a big showcase for their art in the last few years,” she said. Artists will visit the site from around the world.

For more information on the festival, visit its website.


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