K. Lea 2 years ago

June 14th, 2013

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Over the past few years, there has been a swell in electronic music events, filling up every weekend, especially in the summer. Luckily, many of these events are overnight festivals, allowing attendees to get out of the city for a few days, dance under the stars, and truly take a break from their predictable routine.

One such festival entered my radar last year, a festival that in actuality is several years into maturity. Peeping photo after photo, I couldn’t look away. The location looked amazing, the weather was gorgeous, and there appeared to be a beach and a ton of DJs. Above all, the thing I noticed in these snapshots of time, was that the attendees seemed to be having the best time ever.  Immediately a question formed in my brain. Where was this magical place called FozzyFest?

Doing a little bit more research, I couldn’t have been more pleased with the answer. FozzyFest was in fact only a couple hours away from Calgary, nestled in a valley in Kananaskis Country. 2013 attendance would not only be feasible, but necessary. Still not knowing an abundance of details regarding FozzyFest, I met with a few of the organizers to get the facts on this little Canada Day weekend get-together.

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FozzyFest began fourteen years ago, as a birthday celebration for FozzyFest General Manager, Shawn “Fozzy” Lafleur. Five years into the celebration, the collective decided to go public, marking the first official FozzyFest nine years ago. “A friend and I used to go camping in Banff and Lake Louise and stuff, and after the fourth year of celebrating my birthday, my co-worker brought me to the Indian Graves, where we have the festival now. The year after was the first official year,” said Shawn.

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Despite modest beginnings as a simple camping birthday party, FozzyFest has matured into a much more elaborate party destination boasting a host of amenities that matches many of Western Canada’s most well known festivals. This year, two of the major draws of FozzyFest will be the two main stages, the Forest Stage and the Beach Stage. Both stages have brought décor crews on board to assist with themes. Organizers will be aiming to craft a unique experience for festivalgoers. The Beach Stage’s Talent Coordinator/Stage Director Adam “digaBoo” Bradley (who is also a Connect Festival veteran) highlighted a bit about the old school theme happening at the beach stage this year. “We have Audio Empire doing the beach this year. We’re doing a big boom box in line with the old school theme. We’re going to have shadow dancer spots, plus La Gogue is coming to dance as well.” Adam went on to explain that the music at the Beach Stage would also tailor to the old school theme. There will be representation of pretty much all genres, just like an old school rave party. “We’re going to have some more of the breaks, drum and bass, house … also we’re going to have a funk jam which plays off his name (Fozzy), Dr. Teeth, and the Electric Mayhem’s funk jam,” said Adam. Important to note, is that headlining the stage is one of the most old school names in drum and bass, bar none. Jump up jungle pioneer Aphrodite will be present to take us way back.

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In terms of the Forest Stage, festival organizers also wanted to enhance the ambiance. Bryson Montgomery, one of the Forest Stage’s Directors explained, “The Forest is sort of the ‘happy stage,’ so good vibes really.” In order to enrich the serendipitous feeling of the stage, the Forest Crew has brought Calgary super design team the Space Invaderz on board. Anyone familiar with their work knows the Space Invaderz transform caterpillars into butterflies on a regular occasion. “Obviously the Forest is in a forest,” said Adam. “They’re actually doing a forest themed stage. A tree trunk is going to be the stage with the DJ booth in the center.” Bryson went on to tell us a bit about the music at the Forest Stage.  “Saturday night is a house night, we’ve got lots of funk on the lineup. We brought in Timothy Wisdom and Wood n Soo, so we’ve got Ghetto Funk on the stage. This year too with Space Invaderz coming on the stage, we’ll have a lot of glitch from their DJs.” Australia’s Mr. Bill will also be headlining the Forest, a huge talent and up and coming name in the bass music community. Both stages will have PK Sound this year, a step up in the audio department.

This year FozzyFest will be initiating a third stage,  the Crystal Cave. Festival organizers have brought on Scott Mills to head up this new endeavor. The Crystal Cave will be decorated with chandeliers made of beer bottles, keeping in line with the lavish adornments present at the rest of the festival. “It’s more of a free flow stage,” said Shawn. “It doesn’t really have a schedule yet. We also have a chillout area called the Bear’s Den if people want a break.”

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On top of the stages and the lineup, FozzyFest has a ton of other events happening during the day to make the most out of the gorgeous scenery on the festival grounds. Saturday afternoon, the Beach Stage will play host to some of Calgary’s favourite beatboxing and hip hop acts including Dragon Fli Empire, Rebecca Dawn, Triple T Mattt, Busy Beatz, Jazzlib Collective, and Controverse. Possibly most exciting is the appearance of ten-piece band Freak Motif. Additionally, there will be a bunch of daytime workshops this year, the usuals like yoga and hula hooping, but also tai chi, which is something a bit out of the norm. There will be a new art initiative as well, an art walk, featuring local artists and theme camps for your viewing pleasure. “We don’t want to be Burning Man or anything,” said Shawn. Simply, the festival just wanted some more art to really accentuate and play up the location.

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FozzyFest’s location is one of the biggest allures of all. The Indian Graves site is stunning, and FozzyFest goes through great lengths to ensure the site stays that way. The festival has a green initiative. This means that in the city, they do all their administrative work electronically, but as well on the festival grounds there will be water bottles for sale, and free water to refill them. “We’re asking people not to bring so many disposable water bottles,” said Shawn. “We will be recycling, and we guarantee the site will be cleaner when we leave than when we arrive. We really pride ourselves on the relationship with have with Parks Canada.” That being said, attendees should pack out what they pack in, and respect the beauty of the site. Although drinking is allowed, no glass will be allowed on festival grounds.

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Despite putting a ton of work into improving amenities, Bryson, Adam, and Shawn want to highlight the one thing they feel sets FozzyFest apart, which is the vibe. “Obviously the music’s great, and the people, but I think the best thing is the vibe you get when you get out there. You’ll see the same people 15, 20 times during the festival, and everyone gets to meet each other and make new friends. We’ve had tons of friendships, and even weddings have come from FozzyFest, and it’s something we’re really proud of,” said Shawn. “He kind of took the words out of my mouth,” agreed Adam. “For me it was like bringing Connect back here.” Bryson agreed with these sentiments overall, but mentioned another standout factor. “For me it’s easy – no bugs!”

FozzyFest is going to be amazing this year, and ticket pricing is extremely reasonable. Tickets are only $110 regular price, which is more than affordable for three nights of amazing music. Early entry is available and is recommended to nail down the best camping spots. Important to note, this early entry is free!

This party sounds like a ton of fun, and we can’t wait for the rad music and tight vibes. A big thanks to Shawn, Adam and Bryson for taking the time to chat!

Words by K. Lea and Photos by Vindaloo


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