Let the BassBus cannon kick it

By Mel Rygus

For those of you who may have found yourselves a little out of the loop courtesy of midterms, assignments and papers (oh, my!) over the past few weeks, this just in — Calgary is kind of cool.

Seriously, it’s true. Would an uncool city have just been named a Cultural Capital of Canada for 2012? One of Calgary’s newest additions to its ever-expanding smorgasbord of creative enterprises is big, blue and completely mobile — and it happens to be known as the “BassBus.”

What exactly is this BassBus and how is it contributing to Calgary culture? I ventured over to the Den last Friday and sat down with the three co-creators of the project to find out.

Baran Faber, Gareth Rider and Joel Ferguson are a trio who embody the true essence of the term “bromance.” The three of them have been friends for years and all share a passion for music and the arts, particularly bass music.

While sipping pints of Pilsner, the boys recalled how the idea for BassBus came to fruition.

“We were literally sitting around a computer getting hammered two or three days before Shambhala [Music Festival] last year and decided to buy a bus,” explained Joel.

The initial plan was to purchase a vehicle that would shuttle a large group of people to the electronic music festival, but this quickly morphed into something a whole lot bigger after Shambhala was over.

The boys decided they were going to create a mobile concert venue and artistic outlet, using the bus as a creative platform upon which to build the idea. Over the next few months, the vehicle was traded up and transformed from your run-of-the-mill school bus to an intricately-painted mobile stage. Today, both the wooden interior and metal exterior boast full electrical power, equipped for a band or DJ to play inside or outside on its detachable stage.

Thus far, BassBus has already taken part in an array of festivals and has even served as a transport vehicle for artists and DJs to a number of events in and around the city. This past summer the BassBus crew traveled to rural Alberta’s own Motion Notion electronic music festival, where they operated the event’s only 24-hour stage.

None of this would have happened if not for the collaborative nature of the BassBus enterprise. “One person gets the call, but it takes the three of us to make the show happen,” says Baran.

Next up for BassBus is two more events in a series known as “Beats in the East.” These electronic music showcases are taking place in the heart of Calgary’s East Village, along the city’s new RiverWalk. The series, showcasing local DJ talent, has been a collaborative effort with the City of Calgary and takes place on Saturday afternoons from 2 to 6 p.m. throughout this month. This weekend’s edition of Beats in the East is shaping up to be its biggest yet, as the event will be taking place in coordination with CJSW’s annual Funding Drive.

While finishing their last dregs of beer, the boys shared some final thoughts.

“Ultimately, BassBus is a mobile platform to support artists, period,” said Joel. “For the average U of C student, do what you do and invite BassBus to be a part of it.”

“We may be called BassBus, but we’re always looking to get involved in new and different artistic communities.”

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