Special to the Record
There are music festivals and there’s the Atmosphere Gathering.
The second annual event Aug. 14-16 at Village Park in Cumberland is a “gathering” by virtue of its overall experience that transcends music, promoter Vig Schulman of Cumberland Village Works indicates in an interview.
“It’s an example of how festival culture has changed in the last 30 years,” Schulman begins, citing the Burning Man and Woodford festivals as examples of events where people can meet and share multi-sensory experiences.
“People will travel to these events because these events give them a sense that, ‘I can dress in costumes, I can dance, I can do yoga’ … it opens up people’s other sensibilities, which our culture generally doesn’t have a lot of room for.
“The freedom to be who you are at these kinds of eventsº is important.”
Atmosphere, Schulman summarizes, is “the love child of The Big Time Out (a previous Cumberland Village Works event).”
Attracting about 1,500 people to Village Park, Atmosphere is half the size of TBTO.
Music, which is still a major component, will feature Nahko and Medicine for the People, Kaminanda, Plantrae, Rising Appalachia, Fort Knox Five and David Starfire” as well as North Island favourites Five Alarm Funk and Nickodemus. The roster also includes The Librarian, Erica Dee and Mat The Alien, among others.
Atmosphere will again offer three stages this year, which help to expand the experience beyond music.
Besides the main stage, the grounds will include an authentic Italian circus tent, which will present most of the weekend’s electronic music.
An elixir temple operated by Cumberland company Harmonic Arts and a workshop teepee add to the Atmosphere experience.
It will be a family-friendly weekend, Schulman stresses.
“There will be children there, babies, and all the way up to my age, which is older than dirt,” he jokes.
A secondary but important aspect of the event is the Village of Cumberland itself, he notes.
“We’re making sure that people are aware that’s part of the ambience of our event while it’s in this village.”
Dunsmuir Avenue with its pubs, restaurants and shops is a short walk away.
With Cumberland Village Works partner Melissa Roeske, Schulman has booked talent for innumerable performances in the village. That includes festivals almost every year that have been known as The Big Time Out, Big Day Up and other names.
Cumberland Village Works and Little Island Productions are producing this year’s event. Little Island, Schulman says, booked the electronic talent.
Schulman estimates 25 to 30 people are part of the team and the partners that bring Atmosphere to life.
He describes the first festival 10 years ago as “a bit of a watershed for this community to actually move out of this somewhat depressed” state. “There are many people who have rented and bought houses in this town because there was a festival down there called The Big Time Out. I feel there’s a legacy we have brought to this community.”
For details, visit www.atmospheregathering.com, or Atmosphere’s Facebook page.
Mark Allan is a freelance writer and a former editor of the Comox Valley Record.