Arts & Entertainment

New festival takes over Merritt Mountain grounds

 | August 30, 2010

The Merritt Mountain Music Festival had a long successful run, and while there may be no more country music headliners gracing the stages on the beautiful hills in Merritt another festival has laid claim to the area—on the complete opposite end of the genre spectrum.

Electric Mountain Music Festival is the new festival taking over the grounds that used to host the huge Merritt Mountain Music Festival, a country music showcase known for its wild parties and large crowds.

Electric Mountain is taking the city into the country. The festival will focus on electronic and hip hop music over Labour Day weekend, Sept. 3 to 5.

The festival will be run by Vancouver’s Regime Entertainment, and Communications Director Meghan Edmonson says they are remaining humble about their first year in operation.

“We would be happy with 3,000 (attendees),” she says, a far cry from the 100,000 people who used to attend Merritt Mountain. “The whole focus this year is just to brand and get people in the know about it.”

Regime is being smart about taking things one step at a time, which should help them prevent the disastrous situation faced by the Pemberton Music Festival promoters from a couple of years ago.

“Pemberton went so big and then they ran out of money because they were paying so much money to headliners. That’s not realistic,” says Edmonson.

The festival will feature three stages showcasing electronic music and hip hop from the likes of Mat the Alien, local Kamloops DJ duo Dope Tito and the amazing DJ Kofi of the Gorillaz Sound System—a light and visual show featuring the lovable Gorillaz characters.

The festival will also feature a water park with a 200 ft. slip-and-slide, beer gardens, food vendors and onsite camping. Using only a section of the previous grounds from Merritt Mountain, Electric Mountain is being realistic about the atmosphere of the festival.

“We’ve cut a more controlled area . . . you do risk there being issues and it would be ignorant for me to think otherwise,” says Edmonson in answer to the question of safety at the festival. “We want people to have fun, but within the realm of what is right and what is wrong.”

The team of Regime Entertainment recently visited Merritt to get a feel for the grounds and receive feedback from the community. Edmonson says that while those who dislike change remain skeptical, generally the community of Merritt is excited about hosting another festival that could be the new Coachella of the north in years to come.

Only time will tell if this music festival will succeed but considering its prominent reputation left over by Merritt Mountain combined with a unique, well-planned organization as well as local community support it looks like Electric Mountain Music Festival could be a real summer festival hit.

For those who are interested in getting involved with the festival, volunteer applications are being accepted and are available directly from the festival’s website at www.electricmountainmusicfest.com. Up and coming emcees and DJs are also invited to submit material for consideration in The Electric Throw Down, a friendly competition for artists to showcase their skills and music to the public for prizes and spots at next year’s festival.

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