The Day-by-Day Play-by-Play
While the art is just as much a part of Bass Coast as the music, for the purpose of our namesake we’d be lying if we said the music wasn’t a major part of our experience. First thing’s first, you won’t find yourself frantically scouring the schedule like at other festivals. There are four stages at Bass Coast, and they don’t all necessarily run at the same time. While you’d think this leaves you with limited options, we found the opposite to be the case.
Opening the schedule pre-festival revealed a flurry of names we’d never heard of, but after asking for people’s recommendations and checking out hours of music on the Bass Coast app, we discovered some new favorites. Once arriving on site however, we quickly came to realize it’s not the type of place where you chase the music, but just allow yourself to be drawn in.
We kicked things off by getting familiar with the grounds and getting acquainted with our neighbors, as you should do at any festival. However it wasn’t long before the sun was gone and we found ourselves ready to dance. Believe it or not, there was a plan in mind – but the draw of Slay Bay proved to be too much. Highlighted from sets by Machinedrum, Greazus, and Sabre, the ambiance of the Steampunked Pirates playground would prove to be our backdrop for Friday night, as we held down the fort until the sun told us it was time for bed.
Saturday began after a morning trip to the food trucks, where we were faced with one of the tougher decisions of the weekend – what to eat for breakfast. After subconsciously being lured to the bacon truck for a breakfast sandwich, it was off to explore the grounds by day. The Coldwater Ranch did not disappoint as we weaved between art installations and a sea of smiling faces.
We stopped in at one of the many workshops for a lesson on the fundamentals of popping, before putting that knowledge to use as we witnessed Khan throw down his first of two sets over the weekend. Before we knew it, it was time for a drum & bass takeover by Vancouver-based collective SHAHdjs. For the next three hours, the Radio stage was transformed into a den for drum & bass heads that had patiently been waiting for their fix.
Our hearts filled with a healthy dose of D&B, we stuck around to catch Fort Knox Five bring the funk before heading to the Main Stage for the Librarians midnight madness. Complete with amazing sound, stunning visuals, fireworks, and even live performances like aerial hooping and a b-boy battle, the Librarian reminded us what being a good host is all about.
Immediately following the Librarian was our favorite set of the weekend, when Ivy Lab graced Main Stage with one of the best performances we’ve ever heard. One where the music is so good it takes you half an hour to realize you’ve been holding on to an empty can. Stray & Sabre tore up the decks and brought out the feels with their remix of Clams Casino’s I’m God. After wiping away whatever was in our eye, it was time to head back to the Radio Stage, where Mat the Alien invaded our ears with his own brand of really good space travel.
By 5 am, there was just enough left in the tank for a little dose of Daega Sound before winding down our night on the banks of the Coldwater River. As the sun started to peak over the mountains, surrounded by friends both old and new, we felt as if we’d been here before, like it was home. It was like the beginning of a great adventure, when the smile lingers on the corner of your mouth, perhaps longer than it should.
Sunday started with a trip to the Oasis Showers to rinse off the dirt tan we’d gathered so far. Complete with cedar shower stalls, hot water, peppermint hair & body wash, plus a plethora of creams, lotions, and other products, for a mere $9 we experienced the best shower we’ve had in years. Quickly drying off, we headed to K+Tel’s Sunday Soul Sessions, which resembled something of a Fractal Funk Jam but replaced with soulful classics at our home away from home, Slay Bay.
At 3 pm it was time for something special. Since before our arrival we’d heard whispers of the TwerkShop; literally a workshop about twerking and empowering one’s self. We were told this one of the can’t miss events of the weekend, and those whispers turned out to be true. We’ve never seen a crowd of all (19+) ages, all body types, and all genders, down on all fours with so much happiness radiating throughout them.
We had a tough time pulling ourselves away, but a daytime LongWalkShortDock set was on the bill which is something we HAD to experience. After witnessing that spectacle, which included back to back FF7 remixes, it was time for the annual JPOD BlissCoast series. If you know JPOD and know his energy, we have reason to believe that this is his favorite festival in the world, because we’ve never seen him so hyped to play a set as he was at Bass Coast.
The rest of the night got a bit blurry as we paid a few visits to the bar, but sets by 22:22, Neon Steve, The Funk Hunters, and Stray stood out as we packed our bags the next morning. After saying goodbye to friends and grabbing one last bite to eat, it was time to head back to reality. But not before we made a promise to come back again next year.
Get all the latest Pacific Northwest nightlife news, directly to your inbox.