By Paul Rodgers
CALGARY – FozzyFest, born as a birthday party in 2005 for director Shawn Lafleur, is known for being one hell of a good way to close out festival season — a final fall hurrah with great stages and stellar talent roster. It’s also known for its resiliency in the face of extremely difficult circumstances.
In 2013 when faced with the devastating floods that wreaked havoc across Alberta they moved from their Kananaskis home to a beachfront residency on Lake Koocanusa in south eastern British Columbia.
In 2016 the festival was hit with a licensing dispute with the Regional District of East Kootenay and were denied their Special Event License, forcing them to have a dramatically reduced festival that year. They were only able to have 500 people on site — including staff, volunteers artists and guests, which is about one third of what they usually host.
Then in 2017, though they had a major bureaucratic victory and were once again permitted their full scale festival, they were once again faced with an environmental disaster: the wildfire season which was at the time the worst in BC history. Before being asked to leave by regional authorities, they made a collective decision to find a new location for their festival, and moved to Metis Crossing north of Edmonton.
Though 2017’s temporary location proved to make for a wonderful festival experience had by all in attendance, this year they are back on the beach and come equipped with perhaps their most exciting lineup of talent ever, plus a shitload of lasers and other fun festival things.
BeatRoute chatted with FozzyFest talent director Adam Bradley just ahead of showtime to see how they prepared this year’s festivities.
“Throughout the year we have various meetings with ourselves and the whole FozzyFest Team to discuss ideas; share experiences we had throughout the past year and what we’ve learned, heard and saw at other festivals what we liked, disliked etc. and what type of direction we might go for FozzyFest that year,” Bradley says.
Bradley explains that this year they upped their headlining artists from 17 to 19 and have a whopping total of over 150 DJs, musicians, performers and workshop professionals to give every attendee something to enjoy.
“The main thing that really sets us apart from other festivals, I feel, is that we truly sit down and go through every aspect of the scene and look at what people are listening too and what speaks to the FozzyFest community as a whole,” Bradley says.
“We aren’t all about the flavour of the month or who’s the big touring artist that year is. We are known as that festival that brings artists everyone wants to see but hasn’t had the chance; because either the artist is from Spain, or Budapest, or somewhere in the UK, or they are the new guy on their labels and aren’t capable of making it over to Canada on their own. Many of our international artists cut their Canadian or North American teeth at FozzyFest, and have now gone onto become real fan favourites in Canada and have since booked multiple Canadian tours.”
He adds that Fozzy strives to stay fresh, not bringing back headliners two years in a row. They also carefully lay out their schedule in a way that puts an artist into a time slot that will get the ideal crowd response.
Some of the heavy hitters on this year’s roster include UK drum and bass legend Danny Byrd, who has a fiery new record fresh under his belt on top of many years as a dominate presence in the game. They’ve also brought rising d’n’b star Benny L, whose basslines are sure to cause some serious devastation out there. For fans of the deeper, more intricate realms of the genre is French jungle and half-time producer Moresounds. Then there’s Kursiva — another extremely talented producer and d’n’b DJ who infuses his precision sets with plenty of hip hop and reggae.
There’s a tonne of funky party-rocking DJs on the lineup including Father Funk, X-Ray Ted, Sammy Senior, Megan Hamilton, Freddy J and Woofax. Bradley himself is partial to the hard electro and baseline end of house music so he’s personally looking forward to Cazztek, but that is just the tip of the iceberg for house artists on this year’s lineup, with another extremely notable mention being San Francisco’s Dirtybird representative Worthy.
Then of course there is the exceptional local and regional talent who serve as the bedrock of this great festival — and the Calgary players are there in full force. Just to name a few, you’ve got a healthy serving of drum and bass/bass music selectors like OAKK, the 403DNB showcase or the Sub Chakra representatives Carissa Gem and Metafloor.
The rest of the lineup is peppered with a massive gamut of veteran Calgary DJs including Esette, Jon Delerious, Pete Wilde, Guru, Dublic, Pete Wilde, Alan Flava, Wigginz, Lotus Queen and many more.
Plus they have disc golf. I fucking love disc golf. See you out there.
Tickets are still available for this year’s FozzyFest, which takes place on Lake Koocanusa from September 13 to 16.403DNB, Alan Flava, Benny L, Carissa Gem, Cazztek, Danny Byrd, Dirtybird, disc golf, Dublic, Esette, Father Funk, FozzyFest, Freddy J., Guru, Jon Delerious, Kursiva, Lake Koocanusa, Lotus Queen, Megan Hamilton, Metafloor, Moresounds, OAKK, Pete Wilde, Sammy Senior, Strange Manner, Sub Chakra, Wigginz, Woofax, Worthy, X-Ray Ted