Taking the party from the park to the entire village was a complete success, according to Big Time Out organizers.
“I really feel like the concept went really well as far as everybody’s take on it,” programmer Vig Schulman said. “I think a lot of people felt that it was a really beautiful thing for the town — that’s what the townpeople were telling us for sure.”
After the last-minute change to move the two-day festival to Ash Berry Farm in Royston the previous summer, the event was back in Cumberland this year on Saturday and Sunday.
Instead of just bringing the Big Time Out back to Village Park in Cumberland, organizers made a conscious effort to spread music, dance, art and circus antics throughout Cumberland with eight venues around the Village.
Village Park still held the main stage for musical entertainment with artists like Black Mountain, Elliott Brood and Kim Churchill delighting the audience outside during two full afternoons and evenings of cooler, but generally dry, weather.
The Waverley, Cumberland and King George hotels featured a variety of different acts with soul, reggae, rock, bluegrass, burlesque, folk, pole dancing and other attractions.
Village Square and the streets were also alive with art installations, music, stilt walkers and more, while the Corre Alice Gallery featured TBTO themed art, the King George Meeting Room housed a puppet theatre, and the Sanctuary Tipi offered a peaceful retreat with activities like yoga and belly dancing.
The Pyramid Lounge at the Cumberland Recreation Institute showcased a selection of DJs, including much-loved acts Longwalkshortdock and the Funk Hunters, who ensured the crowd was up late dancing up a storm each night.
Schulman noted he kept a close eye on the streets during the later hours of each night — the festival was moved to Ash Berry Farm due to concerns from the Comox Valley RCMP last year — but he had no complaints from “officialdom” as of Tuesday afternoon.
“I was cycling the streets at the end of the day and everybody seemed to be tucked in,” said Schulman. “And the Pyramid Lounge, which was the last thing open — it was definitely just throbbing in there until the wee hours, which was until 2 o’clock each night — and it seemed to be really effectively, shall we say, the security issues were just basically non-events this year, so that was really, really cool for us.”
Schulman added he didn’t have attendance numbers, and the numbers may not have seemed as high as past years due to the disbursement over the eight venues, but the crowds were likely on par with the 2010 event when it was last held in Cumberland.
“I’m convinced that when you add up all the numbers from everywhere it would be very similar to our general Big Time Out audience for sure,” he said. “All the venues that I’ve talked to, they were packed out pretty much, you know, for all the events that they were staging.”
And although Schulman said organizers are still absorbing all the excitement this year’s festival generated, they’re already talking about next year — a bit.
“We’re a little tired so thinking about all of the logistics of next year is not what we’re thinking about, but we’re thinking about the acts that we would like to see come,” he said.