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An open-concept concert

48-hour festival offers platform for all-inclusive access to underground arts

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It's all set to take place on a 250-acre private campground in the Squamish Valley, with on-site hanging glaciers, a river, lush forest, and beaches. Once inside the festival grounds, everything is open and all the workshops are included in the ticket price.

The concept for the festival actually emerged a few years ago, when Thompson and Graham were wrapping up another trip to the Burning Ban Project in Nevada.

"(Thompson) and I have always wanted to create a festival that combines our favourite aspects of other festivals, while also reflecting the unique creativity and personality of our hometown," Graham said.

"(Helleman) has brought a fresh outlook to the event by expanding the vision from just a sonic experience to really emphasize fashion, photography and film. We really all balance each other."

They saw a need for an organized event, something along the lines of Shambhala for the Sea to Sky corridor. And they'd thrown small-scale outdoor private parties before, inadvertently drawing crowds of about 200 people, so it just made sense to go legit and host a festival that incorporates all of their loves: fashion, music and art.

But the idea has just become a reality this year, and the three friends began working full time on the project in January.

"All these things kind of fell into place, but since finding the land, its been a lot of work just with all the different government agencies and stuff, making sure that it's a safe event and taking care of all the logistics," Helleman said.

Organizing the festival has been a huge investment of time, energy and money over the past four months. They've been working closely with local government agencies, Search and Rescue, and the RCMP to ensure that the event goes smoothly.

But since the B.C. festival scene is already pretty reputable, organizers didn't have a hard time getting musicians on-board for this inaugural event. The lineup includes performers from throughout North America, like Fort Knox Five, An-ten-nae, Neighbour, Lighta! Sound, and Bluetech, plus some serious local talent.

"We have a strong electronic music community in Whistler with Mat the Alien, Vinyl Ritchie, DJs Chili Thom, Surgeon, Kori K, Ricochet, Sheila, Evolve, Foxy Moron, DJ Phroh, Toddski Chunky Chornz, Milton, and Foxxi Ozzi, just to name a few. All of these DJs are active in promoting different successful events," Graham said. "Its time now to bring everyone together."

They've also attracted a range of talented artists and performers from throughout the province and further abroad, who are interested in coming out to help shape the Bass Coast Project.

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