Big Time Out returns to its home
For the past several years, Big Time Out mainman Vig Schulman has insisted the event was not an annual one in spite of it happening each year.
Each year, he explained, he would proceed with the weekend of music and celebration in Cumberland only after finding an appropriate headliner or two available during the right timeframe.
After staging the 2011 festival at nearby Ash Berry Farm, Schulman now has a multi-year agreement with the Village of Cumberland to hold the Big Time Out back in its usual home at Village Park.
“The most significant aspect of this year’s event that excites me as the artistic director is the ‘fringe festival’ or taking the show to the street in Cumberland,” Schulman says of the 2012 event Aug. 18 and 19. “We have always over the past seven years presented everything on one stage.
“In ’09, we had one of our acts, the March Fourth Marching Band, parade down Dunsmuir into the park and onto the stage. It was a hint of the concept that will be very prevalent in this year’s model.
“While the ‘concert’ bowl will be the same layout in the Village Park with the mainstage and vendors, etc. as it has always been, I will be programming entertainment in the three pubs and in the CRI (Rec Centre) to broaden the scope and include the charm of the beautiful little town in the Big Time Out experience,” Schulman explains.
“The businesses are planning some increased involvement in the structure of the event. The Corre Alice Gallery will be exhibiting an art show that showcases artists who have prepared pieces (some limited edition silk screened posters, etc.) specifically for the Big Time Out.”
Schulman is borrowing a concept popularized in Austin, Tex., from what he says is the largest entertainment multi-venue showcase in North America.
“After attending South by Southwest two years ago, I was very inspired by the concept. This year, a festival wristband will give the ticket holder access to a much wider variety of entertainment treats. The boutique festival tradition is very much at the core of the planning with more places throughout the village to exhibit the unique magic of artists from around the world,” Schulman adds. “With an emphasis on contemporary music, dance and circus arts, this year’s Big Time Out promises a fresh view of one of the most compelling events of its kind in Western Canada.”
New producer Kevin Haughton says music will be presented in the Waverley, Cumberland and King George hotels from noon to 1:30 a.m. The all-ages Pyramid Lounge at the Cumberland Recreational Institute replaces the Chai Tent. Festival wristbands will allow admission to Village Park as well as the other venues.
“My role is to build a budget … second to that I’m the fellow that basically designs the site … builds the site, develops site plans,” Haughton explains. “I also develop the security plan working in liaison with the RCMP and the Village of Cumberland to see that through.”
Among other tasks, he is lining up sponsors, assembling the volunteer team and creating a production schedule. Day by day, he elaborates, things are scheduled to happen in what he describes as a dance.
“We’ll have a truck from Slegg (Lumber) arrive with a thousand feet of fence and it has to be offloaded,” he said as an example. “And then positioned so that as we’re building this event … we still have room to manoeuvre around these vehicles.
“As the last piece arrives, we design it so we can still manoeuvre around onsite. That’s a huge part of this, making sure that it’s very fluid. And, of course, getting the site built, getting the stage rigged (working with the production crew from Sound Advice.)”
Artist management is also on the Big Time Out’s to-do list.
“Every artist, every band will have a certain number of needs,” says Haughton, himself a touring drummer with Canadian singer Wil. “We’ll more often than not provide … drums, keyboards, guitars, bass that meet or exceed their needs.
“As a musician myself, I know myself what we can and cannot substitute.”
One of the many objectives of a production crew is to avoid lengthy delays between acts as one performer’s equipment is replaced by another and a sound check occurs to ensure a good mix in the volume of voices and instruments.
“I’m very proud to say our crew is stellar considering what we have going on during the day.
“We actually make up time. We go, and it’s not a furious, chaotic mess; it’s very professional.”
Haughton says he loves the atmosphere.
“It’s beautiful. I love it. I wouldn’t change it. I love that energy.”
He said the crew tries to treat emerging artists as well as they do established stars.
“Some of these people have never played in front of a hundred people, let alone thousands,” Haughton notes.
Big Time Out organizers have added to their evolving lineup.
Bahamas is Afie Jurvanen, who has spent the past few years playing piano and guitar with Feist.
Luciterra is a four-woman Vancouver-based fusion bellydance troupe.
Those two acts join previously announced Ontario trio Elliott Brood, Vancouver rock band Black Mountain, Aurora Jane (known for her upbeat funk and rock sound) and Kemal Evans, whose sound combines soul, rock, hip-hop and reggae.
Earlybird tickets are on sale now for the Cumberland festival Aug. 18 and 19.
For details about the Big Time Out, visit http://thebigtimeout.com