Better luck next time

The first thing that comes to mind in regards to Electric Mountain Music Festival is that age-old proverb, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” because that’s what attendees got at Electric Mountain Music Festival—lemons.

The music festival that could’ve been the next new big thing to hit the Interior flopped horribly. It’s hard to blame it on any one thing, or to take a completely negative experience from it, because there were positive notes. There were a number of major and minor things that turned this festival sour.

Patrons paid between $80 to $120 for tickets to attend a festival that had few staff, was poorly organized, poorly designed and had no real production set up. Where does one begin when trying to point out the things that could’ve worked for this festival had they been paid attention to?

Anyone who had previously attended the Merritt Mountain Music Festival would agree, the location is the perfect spot to host a live music venue. Tucked into a little valley alongside a river on a farm, it’s a picturesque spot that would provide a lot of space for a festival to grow.

Unfortunately the organizers, Regime Entertainment from Vancouver, either took little care in the actual setup of the festival—everything was very spread out—or they were expecting larger at-the-door ticket sales. Joshua Allen of Regime Entertainment didn’t return phone calls or e-mails to comment on the event.

To quote an earlier column I wrote, Regime Entertainment’s previous Communications Director Meghan Edmonson said, “Pemberton went so big and then they ran out of money because they were paying so much money to headliners. That’s not realistic.” So, what happened?

Due to lack of payment from Regime Entertainment, the main sound and lighting company (PK Sound from Calgary, Alta.) cancelled their involvement a couple of days before the festival opened. Actual ticket sales numbers were not confirmed but it’s hard to believe the festival could’ve paid many artists judging by the small amount of people that showed up. The lack of security at the festival could also possibly attest to this situation.

But in the end, you have to take the lemons that you’re dealt and make something of them—or leave. Mike Matthew, a local Kamloops DJ known as Whiprek managed to get more out of the festival than planned. Because some acts didn’t show up, Matthew managed to squeak in extra playing time and rocked the small crowd piled onto a bouncing stage in the Electric Throwdown.

“I got some wicked exposure and got to play some charging tunes for some cool people,” he says. “I had the renegade stage literally jumping up and down.”

The fact that you could see some headlining acts like Excision and Mat the Alien up close without having to squeeze into a spot amidst bouncing fans made the festival feel intimate and like a private party at times.

Performer Christina Sing of Destineak put on an excellent show with enough energy to liven the crowd. Though Sing wasn’t as positive about the festival, she managed to somewhat enjoy it as an artist.

“It was the first year, so it was a bit disorganized and the weather was also very unforgiving,” she says, adding that on the positive side, “there were some very hardcore music fans . . . and the sound on stage was really good throughout our show.”

So it wasn’t all bad. With more organization, promotion and advertising and a better layout the festival could still stand a chance at success—that is, if the promoters haven’t hurt their reputation already. Only time will tell for this one.

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