In a crowded landscape of behemoths and long-running cornerstone festivals like Shambhala, Bass Coast, and Motion Notion, it’s hard to imagine that there could be room for new upstarts to join the scene and make their mark. But that’s just what’s happening at Metis Crossing, just outside Edmonton, Alberta. In only its second year, Reign Bough Fiddle is growing fast, almost doubling last year’s attendance with 2017’s projected population. Looking through their plans for this year, it’s not hard to imagine why the word is spreading so quickly. With a strong focus on community and attendee experience, we expect great things from this plucky young festival.
Community & Intention
Arising organically from the rock solid dance music scene in Alberta, Reign Bough Fiddle is gearing up to join the ranks of its Alberta siblings, Astral Harvest and Motion Notion, in no time. It’s obvious that RBF has taken lessons about community building from their elder festivals, but their approach is far from dogmatic; what’s the point of being young if you can’t shake things up a bit?
So, not only can RBF citizens engage with world class performers, speakers, and teachers day and night, but they are given the unique chance to contribute directly to the unfolding of the festival’s communal story through personalized missions and quests. If that weren’t enough, we just got word that RBF will soon be a registered not-for-profit. That alone should be enough to show that their intentions are purely to create the best community and festival they can, and nothing else.
This year’s festival theme is “Unicorns vs. Dragons.” Festival citizens are encouraged to represent either faction in daily events, as well as in special quests on the grounds. During the day, the Reign Bough Fiddle Game Master will be on hand to provide quests and challenges to brave adventurers, young and old. Set in the year 2107, in a land where reality itself is beginning to break down, the three-days traffic of this stage will be an epic clash of these two iconic supernatural forces. That leaves just one question: Which would you choose?
Browsing through Reign Bough Fiddle’s immaculately laid-out website, we found one chart that demonstrates the next-level planning and attention to detail that make this festival such a hit. The chart in question is Reign Bough Fiddle’s Vibe Spectrum, a chronological chart showing the vibe level of each of the three stages on a given day. For the most part, the vibe level of a stage looks like a heartbeat, peaking once a day in a natural cycle.
In a conversation with organizer Dustin Laboucan, we found that the purpose of the Vibe Spectrum is to minimize the time festival citizens spend at their camp waiting for a specific artist to come on. By indicating a stage’s musical flow, organizers hope that people will come sooner and stay longer, discovering more new music along the way. More than even that, using a designed progression also just makes sense — Music is rhythm, and DJs do their best to make sure their songs dovetail well into each other in order to to cultivate a vibe progression. Why not make sure that the DJs are sequenced to provide an overall vibe throughout the day?
There’s only a few days left until 11:11 am on Friday the 7th, when the gates will open into a magical new world at Metis Crossing. Tickets are still available for this ridiculously affordable, inclusive, adventure based music and arts festival, so if you’re in the Edmonton area, come on out and see us at Reign Bough Fiddle!