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Do You Believe?

Behind the scenes at the festival in Whistler Olympic Park



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First, they needed a venue. "We had been looking and looking and speaking to people," Jane says. "They all said, 'Try the Callaghan."

Whistler Olympic Park had turned down other companies who wanted to hold concerts there before. Though beautiful, the venue poses unique and costly logistical challenges. Essentially in the middle of nowhere by festival standards, organizers would have to foot the bill for everything from firefighters to police and proper sanitation standards for vendors. Still, the Morans forged ahead.

The director at the park is from Europe, Adrian explains, and immediately warmed to their vision for a festival that would blend both music and culture (and appeal to a slightly older, and presumably less rowdy, crowd). "It's the cultural element we offer," he says. "We're bringing 300 drummers, we're going to teach people to drum and the Drum Café is going to have a whole global village going on there. And there will be First Nations dancers. It's a fusion of the two; we bring that cultural element into electronic music. They go hand-in-hand."

Jane also suspects their local approach held appeal. "The money stays in the belly," she says. "I think that's important. It's part of our goal to generate economic sustainability in the area. It's just supporting the area."

To that end, Whistler Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden says while the festival likely won't drive up room nights (the ultimate goal of many Whistler events) with most attendees camping, there are other benefits to having a new festival in the area. "We may not see significant economic spin off from the festival itself, but what often happens when there are events in the Callaghan is people do take the time to do a day trip into Whistler for sightseeing or supplies... We're very much interested in promoting cultural tourism and expanding our offerings in that regard. This festival has those components to it."

With the site secured, they set to work curating a lineup of local talent and international stars and searching for visual artists and other entertainers — acrobats and performance artists, for example.

Jane quickly recruited local painter Kris Kupskay to paint backdrops for stages and participate in a live art demonstration. "I think Kris is one of the best artists in Whistler," she says. "Even last year when I knew I needed a painter, I thought it would be Kris. I'm stoked he's on board. I really feel that he can grow with us. That's what I said to him. Although our budget is tight this year, in years to come when we have sponsors he can lead a paint team."

Kupskay, who recently painted the massive 12-foot-high by 24-foot-wide backdrops for a 40 ft. stage at an outdoor location in Pemberton, was given a few parameters for the pieces, but mostly had free range. One features a massive, serene-looking tiger lounging on green, rolling hills surrounded by flowers and the festival's signature butterflies. The other depicts a whimsical man with long flowing hair and a beard in front of a similar scene. "Basically, Jane laid out the event and was like, 'Ok this is what I want for the backdrop, you add in whatever else you see fit. We give you full artistic freedom,'" he says. "From that point on they were super supportive with anything I wanted to do."

The look, feel and ideology of the event is meant to fit with today's incarnation of the hippie movement, which is not unlike the original version that inspired Goa. "It's just a better way to live," Adrian says. "Be a bit more caring about the way we go about things... It's a global problem. We've lived in South Africa. Where we come from there are 30,000 murders a year. It's just people robbing and stealing from other people for nothing. That's why this kind of movement resonates with people. It's a peace movement."

Though he seems a little reluctant to delve too far into this aspect of the festival, it was part of the reason why Venice Beach hip hop group The Luminaries contacted them to perform at the event for their Canadian debut. "I saw that they were doing a multi-cultural, multi-faceted event," says J Brave, one of the group's three MCs. "We represent a unique facet of hip hop. We have a positive message. There's a lot of positive music out there, but we're trying to stand out in the hip hop community. When I saw the Believe Festival's mission statement there was an alignment."