RaveLotusThe Bass Goes On

By Chris Carter

Bass. The power, the drive, the majesty.  
Harvest. Gathering together. Reaping the seeds we have sown. 

I remember back in the Dark Ages, when I first heard electronic music. I would stay up late to record it on a cassette player from the local college radio station. I knew then that this was something special that I wanted more of. Later I would find it at the clubs, and experience the continuous flow of mix that a DJ can add to the music, a flow that I could lose myself to in dance. I wanted more. I found it at raves, where the flow went on all night until we emerged exhausted together in the morning, bound together in a brotherhood, a lodge of beat that built communities that have lasted the test of years. Festivals were the next evolution, building on the all-night vibe to an all-weekend retreat, the environment one of intent and spiritual focus, a space to evolve and grow personally while building that sense of community even further. I will always remember these transformative events that have made me who I am.

When Pete Muench and Scott Bloomfield first set up Audio-Feel-Ya at the first Wickerman with one small platform and sound system to make a chill space at the Hemlock Hole, none of us could know what would grow from it. I was just catching the DJ bug that would change the focus of my life, and I think many of us were ready to take things to the next level and do something with all this party energy we’d been gathering for so many years. That was just the seed we needed. When Audio-Feel-Ya set up as a renegade sound camp at Playa Del Fuego off in the quiet area, and instead of being busted for it were commended and encouraged by the staff for the design and plans (and music), we were all-in, and things built quickly from there. The burner scene was just the environment to motivate a lot of our family to find something worthwhile to get behind and express ourselves in, to take what we’ve been doing at our house parties for years and connect with a wider community and take it further, building a camp that would in time become a full second stage for the Mountain Madness festival, and do it well. When that event decided to move on, we saw an opportunity to raise the stakes again and we took it. But it was only through the combined efforts of all of our people, families, and extended clans and camps that we pulled off Bass Harvest and created an event we could all be proud of. No one person, or even one camp, can do something like this. Only a community with a shared dream has the combined resources, grown over the years, and this event was our Harvest. As we grow, it is the hands and hearts of many and more in large and small ways that will empower us to take this as far as it will go. 

Just as the burn camp had networked us and grown our connections, I had hoped this fledgling event would do the same in new ways. We reached out collectively to the best people we knew in our respective scenes to bring in quality talent and engage them in what we were building. We looked for folks we didn’t just want to work with, but would also hang with too. This was a party we were building, and everyone working it should feel welcomed to participate as well. I had hoped that even if we had few attendees, the staff and DJs would make a fine party for themselves, bringing good people together and building networks that would benefit all. That has to be the core of it. This isn’t like putting on a concert. This is more like throwing a house party, just a really big one. With that core and intent, we have the basis of a community that can take this and whatever else we are involved in further. I believe we accomplished this. I saw camps form, new connections made all around, and positive impressions everywhere. If this event were to become more like a convention of local music scene talent, organizers, artists, and enthusiasts that also happens to be an awesome party, I think all of my goals will be met.

                           "For as long as there have been people,
                            we have gathered in groups with fire and drums
                            and raised our collective energy."

The funny thing about parties, they’re more than an excuse to have fun and push the limits of what stimulus our bodies and minds can handle. They’re more than a place where we are individually tested and grow. For as long as there have been people, we have gathered in groups with fire and drums and raised our collective energy. These events were focal points of community and important in their management. These events were when important things happened. Marriages, declarations of war and peace, interaction between leaders and the people, religious observances, and rites of passage. They all happened at gatherings of fire and drums, and they still do. But more than that, this is where the community does its work, and this is what I have seen over the years. Parties are where our relationships are forged and tested, where our collective culture is formed and adjusted, our values are shared, our rites and rituals held, where the business of running a community is handled by the community. It is because of parties that we have the sort of community that built this thing and others. It is at parties that our work will go further, and there is no telling what may come of it.

Events like this are more than just a good time. They are important work that is adding to us all collectively. It is doing Good in the world. And the best part of it is, the people who attend don’t need to think about all that. We don’t need to make a point of it or push it on anyone. It just happens. But personally, I like to be aware of it because it gives me a sense of fulfillment, that I’m doing some Good in the world, and doing it in a right way. Being able to do this at
 my church is even more relevant to me, and an honor and a privilege as well. This is a big part of what I consider my spirituality, in a way that is difficult to put into words; an essential part of who I am and why I do the things I do. Many of the good people I work with feel the same, in their own ways, to their own extents, but they are getting something out of it too. We’re all on the same mission, and that’s what makes what we are doing special. 

In closing, I’ll leave you with some famous words from the Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo that have become a sort of scripture for a lot of us, and that say enough:

No one beats him at his game for very long but just the same.
Who cares? There’s nowhere safe to hide,
nowhere to run, no time to cry.
So celebrate while you still can cause any moment it may end.
And when it’s all been said and done,
it’s better that you’ve had some fun!
Instead of hiding in a shell, why make your life a living hell?
Drink a toast, down a cup,
let’s drink to bones that turn to dust cause

No one no one no one no one
No one no one no one no one
No one no one no one no one

Namaste y’all, see you in the Fall!