Otalith rocks the sequel

The Otalith Music Festival is ready to rock a sequel this weekend.

The two-day outdoor festival was launched last year by a handful of locals committed to putting the West Coast on the music festival map.

Through this goal, the Pacific Rim Music Festival Society was born and steered by a board of five volunteer directors.

“On a combination of being naive and really ambitious we went ahead and decided to throw together a two-day music festival,”

said the society’s communications and marketing director Jessie Fletcher. “Coming up to it last year was probably the most stressful periods in all of our individual lives.”

Stress transformed into triumph after about 15 musical acts cast positive vibrations across the twoday event and brought Otalith in for a successful first landing.

“It all came together wonderfully,” Fletcher said. “All the feedback we’ve gotten has been so wonderful…The response blew us out of the water with the engagement and number of

volunteers that came out.”

Fletcher touts Otalith as the West Coast’s “relaxed lying-down festival of the summer,” and is stoked to see what its second installment will bring.

This year’s format has been tinkered with to bring the festival’s vibe to Tofino after last year’s event was held entirely in Ucluelet.

Friday night will see concurrent shows running in Tofino and Ucluelet with Tofino’s show at the Tofino Brewing Company open to goers of legal drinking age.

Saturday will be spent at the festival’s fairgrounds in Ucluelet and new liquor regulations have torn down the traditional beer garden walls allowing of-age patrons to roam free, beverage in-hand.

“You’ll be able to go purchase your beer and walk around with it, which will probably reduce the amount of craziness you might see in a beer garden and it also means everybody will be a bit more spread out,” Fletcher said.

“We’re hoping we’ll have a nice and wonderful relaxed positive atmosphere again.”

Contributing to this atmosphere will be 15 cross-genre musical guests each one hand picked by the festival’s organizers.

“Picking the bands is a really collaborative

process, we try to curate our list by making sure we’re all stoked on everybody coming,” Fletcher said.

The selected bands include Fletcher’s personal favourite Ages and Ages whom she is stoked to welcome from Portland Oregon.

The society is broadening its musical scope to cater to the West Coast’s wide variety of preferred sounds and will be bringing a more rambunctious lineup to this year’s stage.

“This year we’re venturing into dance music a little bit more, a bit more high energy stuff so people can dance a bit more,” Fletcher said. “We are trying to open it up and bring in some new genres every year.”

She noted the festival adds to the West Coast’s menu of offerings.

“We offer surfing, hiking, and general beach-going and combing but we are a very cultural group of people so why not offer one more layer of culture to everybody,” she said.

“We’re already talking about doing Year Three because it’s such an exciting process…I can’t think of a better place to experience a festival.”

Fletcher said the festival’s philanthropic principles bring an added layer of stoke to the live-music source.

“We’re volunteer driven…all of us do this because we’re passionate about good live music and the festival experience but we also do this because we want to be able to raise money for organizations that are really important to us,” she said.

Last year’s festival raised $3,000 for the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust, $1,000 for the Ucluelet Secondary

School RCMP sponsored scholarship, and in kind support for Pacific Wild, an organization working to conserve the Great Bear Rainforest This year’s festival will again benefit Pacific Wild with the Central Westcoast Forest Society and Jamie Collins Legend and Legacy Fund also on the benefit list.

Shuttles will be on hand to cart festivalers back and forth from Tofino and Ucluelet throughout the weekend’s activities, according to Fletcher.

She said about 70 volunteers are needed to make the event a success and anyone willing to help out is encouraged to reach out by emailing volunteer@otalithfestival.com. Tickets can be purchased online at www.otalithfestival.com-the event’s website which also provides schedule information-or in person at the Tofino Brewing Company and the Ucluelet Aquarium.

reporter@westerlynews.ca