Plans for Growth
At the conclusion of the “Beats and Breakfast” house party, the crew found themselves huddled in the living room, having the same thought – “How do we do this again? And not here.” So, the hunt was on to find a suitable space for their next event. Eventually, Peter landed on the Manifestation Warehouse – a collaborative arts space with a strong focus on metal work. It was the sort of place you would find a motorcycle with knives welded to it or perhaps a giant metal penis hanging from the ceiling. Badass place for a party, right?
To no one’s surprise, the donation only private event was wildly successful. Run entirely by volunteers, and attended only by friends and friends of friends, the energy in the room was incredibly positive. With over 400 people between the two Bacon Balls thrown at the Manifestation Warehouse, there was only one there security issue. Everyone there knew that they were trying to build something from the ground up and knew how important it was not to fuck that up.
Kas eloquently recalled the feeling of those parties, “The experience of everyone that was there…it was so organic for everyone to be enjoying themselves and hanging out together. It was the fusion of everything. Putting your heart into the music. Putting your heart into the environment you created. And allowing the audience to have their own natural reaction to that. People’s default is to be nice to each other.”
After the second party at Manifestation, it was time yet again to find a new space as their numbers were quickly growing. For Bacon Ball III, the event would move to AudioCinema, a shared studio space in SE. That’s where the team has called home for the past 7 Bacon Balls but as they continue to grow, a change of scenery might be on the horizon yet again.
Having gone to Bacon Ball X, we can safely say this is the most unique dance event we’ve been to in Portland. It really does feel like a giant house party. Even now, 90% of the staff at Savory Events are volunteers working for tips and/or free entry to the event. That level of ownership and collaboration is so closely tied to giving Bacon Ball it’s unique atmosphere. Or, as Kas said, speaking to the mindset of a volunteer, “This is my show, I’ve helped create this. I am a part of this. Therefore, I belong here.”
The crowd was much more diverse in demographics and personalities than what you’d typically see at a Portland show. We didn’t witness a single party-goer being creepy or aggressive. Instead, everyone was walking around with a big grin – no doubt amazed by the level of production and thought that went into curating a unique experience. The environment was welcoming and immersive. We saw incredibly creative production ideas, like using weather balloons, ping pong balls, and laser discs to make planets. Not to mention the partnership with local art group, Venus Drip, to create the perfect lounge environment.
Thanks to the efforts of Laurel and Treya, we were also treated to top-notch go-go dancing and aerial performances. It was refreshing to dudes (including Kas) up there shaking it right alongside the ladies. Treya has been performing at large scale dance events for some time now but noted that the crowd at Bacon Ball is truly special – they are engaged, excited, and encouraging.
Walk past the aerial silk and you would no doubt notice the giant glowing highlighter wall. The same sheets of plastic go up at every Bacon Ball. People are encouraged to write messages to wayward travellers, draw, and do whatever comes to their mind. 99.9% of the stuff is positive and “…even the rude things are beautiful in the sea of light” Peter commented.
As for the music, there is certainly a house-focus, but they care more about the progression than anything else. And, Jake pointed out, “We are in a cool and unique place where we can take risks and our audience trusts us.” By that, he was referring to their tickets being 75% sold before the lineup drops. Sure, that’s commonplace for an event like EDC – but not a local show. People most certainly show up for the event and come ready to dance to whoever is playing. When the DJs aren’t the focus, it’s hard for egos to get in the way.
And then, there was the bacon…oh god, the bacon. And beets! We don’t know if it was the otherworldly atmosphere but this pork was seriously some of the best we’ve ever had. And the spicy marinated beets were fan-freakin’-tastic. Not to mention they were served like hors d’oeuvres – some lovely angel would float by with a tray of goodies just when we wanted them.
We asked the group to tell us what Bacon Ball meant to them and Jake gave us a story that perfectly summed up why they keep putting on these events. He recalled meeting a guy from Ohio:
“I’ve never been to anything like this, I’ve never listened to this kind of music, I can’t say more about how this would not be my scene. And, I just moved to Portland and I somehow randomly got invited to this so I came down with a ‘why not?’ attitude. And I’ve got crazy social anxiety. And a place like this would normally be terrifying for me but I don’t want to leave.”
There is no doubt that Bacon Ball creates a special, safe place for people. Differences are dropped at the door and replaced by community on the dancefloor.
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