A Wild Weekend in the Bass Coast Desert

Photo by: Ben Hartley-Marjoram

Thousands flocked to Nicola Valley outside Merritt, BC to party in style amidst boundless indulgence at Bass Coast Electronic Music & Arts Festival? — festival-goers were on full display as they danced until the sun came up each morning. And what a sunny weekend it was, waking up each day to the desert heat ushering dazed campers to the river to wash away the sins of the previous evening. 

Tanned and refreshed, friends and lovers congregated in the central plaza to revitalize their bodies with delicious nourishment from a wide variety of food stands or headed to the forest to seek shaded shelter surrounded by psychedelic art installations, boutique wears and guided yoga. 

The electric music started bumping around lunchtime every day and didn’t stop until the following morning. A talented list of Canadian DJs and International artists gave the crowds of decked-out dancers their best sets across four uniques venues, all with their own styles and vibes. You could dance at the Cantina during the day to live-streamed Boiler Room performances, rave at either of the two forest stages to techno stars like Claude VonStroke (who absolutely killed it!), or blast off under streamers and lasers to an impressive cast of headliners—Nightmares on Wax, Stickybuds, Alix Perez —at the main stage each night. 

The atmosphere was that of pure love and respect with a strong emphasis on harm reduction. Volunteers worked tirelessly to keep the festival clean, organized and safe and the festival-goers themselves were seemingly all in the highest of spirits, making friends, having laughs, and finding fun in every corner. Indeed there were good vibrations all around, providing an uninhibited aura for a momentary escape from day-to-day life. 

No matter the person, Bass Coast has something to offer. You can hike the desert hills overlooking the festival as the moon rose over the distant vista, float down the lazy river on inflatable rafts under cloudless skies, groove around the rollerblade ring on skates, showcase your personalized fashion on the dance floor, lose yourself in the flow to hypnotic beats, admire the natural and artistic beauty laid bare, or relax at your campsite among close and new friends. 

It was its own surreal little world for a few days, transporting everyone within its walls to a magical dimension of debaucherous, liberating, unforgettable fun. Founders Andrea Graham and Liz Thomson promised an inclusive and inspiring experience, and they delivered. The Bass Coast community is undoubtedly made up of some of the nicest, coolest and prettiest people around, which leaves a lasting impression as you head back to reality with a smile on your face. 

Full Photo Gallery (photos by Ben Hartley-Marjoram)