June 14, 2012
Electronic music lights it up
Bakersfield’s electronic dance movement has been plugging away for some time, but unless you’re deep in the thick of things or know someone who is, you might not even know it exists.
Friday and Saturday, June 15 - 16, the serene Camp Okihi campgrounds will be overtaken by Poi Story, a two-day electronic music and arts festival.
It’s the most ambitious project to date from promoters Stereo Type Productions of Bakersfield, a company that formed three years ago and initially hosted warehouse parties and small club nights.
“We’ve never done an outdoor event or even a two-day event,” said Perry Gorham, who owns Stereo Type Productions. “We like doing shows once a month, but we don’t always do large events. You’re going to burn the people out.”
Operating as either Club Plush or The Pulse for smaller shows, the company specifically designs and scales events to meet the demand. The music, all in the electronic vein, features DJs and live performances with pulse-pounding heavy bass and manic waves of synthesizer sounds.
Above: "Epic" New Year's Eve show at The Dome. Courtesy photo
“We do small shows to give people a shot in the arm, then one big show. We’ll go to a local bar, or any other business establishment that will have us. We bring the people, and everyone has a good time.”
According to Gorham, attendance ranges from 200 to 400 people. For promotion, they use a mix of guerilla-style marketing and web postings — and not via a supermarket clerk as portrayed in the rave-themed comedy flick, “Go.”
Above: Stereo Type dancers, from left - Riott, Cherry and Zepplin. Photo by EDM Photography
“We do online marketing on multiple sites, with a lot of word of mouth involved, and ticketing on the streets,” he said. “We just happened to find a niche in the market, but we never thought it would take off as fast as it did. Pretty soon, the people started coming to us.”
Gorham said out-of-towners soon caught on and came to see what was all the rage in “rave” in Bakersfield.
Above: DJs Uplift performs at The Pulse in January. Photo by EDM Photography
“When you start making money, some of the out-of-town promoters will take interest in a piece of what we call the “time share.” That’s the crowd. The difference mostly is, we do events, where as they do more concert-esque events. It caught us by surprise, but we have a strong following. You just have to plan everything right.”
The fact is, the EDM scene can get territorial. I’ve seen this again and again during my visits to music festivals like Coachella and Outside Lands — both of which have featured artists such as Swedish House Mafia, Deadmau5, Skrillex, Tiesto and countless others on medium to large stages. Do some quick math and it’s going to equal some big money.
Above: DJ Lewcid
For Gorham, who was not interested in sharing figures, their events are not on par with many national EDM promoters who now boast major corporate sponsorships for events with names like Electric Daisy Carnival, Hard, and Monster Massive.
“We provide the entertainment and giving the people what they want. We get all the volunteers to make all of it happen: set-up break-down, cleanup, dancers, we actually do our own fliers. It’s a very big operation for us as an independent. We pretty much own all our own gear and rent a trailer to deliver it.”
The crowds are a scene all their own, most wearing brightly colored outfits, dancing wildly in trance-like states and waving glow sticks for hours on end.
Gorham said the event’s “Poi Story” theme is very much in the spirit of previous events, but this time will focus more on the concept of “flow arts,” which he describes as an integral part of the movement.
Above: Fire poi spinner, Fuego, during a Stereo Type event
“A lot of people don’t know what poi is. It’s kind of hard to market. This event is more than just about music.”
“Poi” traditionally refers to both a style of Polynesian performance art and the equipment used in performances. As a performance art, poi involves swinging tethered weights through a variety of rhythmical and geometric patterns. Examples of this would be fire spinning. Poi can be made from various materials with different handles, weights and effects.
“There’s going to be a lot of that culture and art infused as they do at Burning Man and Lightning in a Bottle,” added Gorham.
Looking over the extensive weekend schedule for Poi Story, you’re going to need some time to figure it all out, but as I mentioned before, you probably already know what you’re getting into before you pay your admission.
Top left to right: Dj's Uplift, Raisuki, Lewcid. Bottom left to right: Skydro, Psychobabble. Photo by Allysa Jones
Friday’s line-up kicks off at 2 p.m. with American Alternative & Sacred Gypsy’s Justin Foss on two stages. That will lead into a full day of more music from DJs Himoglephex, La Face, Lewcid, Emerge, Tails and more.
Saturday’s line-up begins at 11:30 a.m. with more DJs, including Circa Lunera, Josex, Mudkip, Keef Koded and others. On both days, there will be plenty of sights to see, courtesy of art from various local and visiting artists, fire spinning, plus dance workshops and more. In accordance with their sound permits, music of high decibels will end at midnight, making way for a less noisy, but equally rhythmic drum circle.
“It’s a different kind of feel and vibe. We have a motto of P.L.U.R. — Peace, Love, Unity, Respect. It’s an experience. You should come out and enjoy it,” said Gorham.
Admission is $15 per day. Camping is allowed on the grounds on both days for $25 per person each night, which includes admission to the event. Daily parking is $5. All ages are admitted. Camp Okihi is located at 13277 Round Mountain Road. For a road map of information, rules and requests, visit the official website at stereotypeproductions.com, or call 661-472-5935.
ASR songwriting clinic
The second edition of ASR Studios Master Songwriting Clinic series is scheduled for June 30 at American Sound Studios. During the daylong clinic, aspiring songwriters will get advice and an insider’s look into the art of penning a hit song by acclaimed songwriters Michael Peterson, Jason Sellers and Tommy Simms.
Attendees also will receive some personalized instruction and a chance to perform a song for critique by one of the three clinicians. Michael Peterson has written hits for Travis Tritt, Ty Herndon, The Eagles’ Timothy B. Schmit, among others.
Sellers has written country singles recorded by Reba McEntire and Kenny Chesney. Multi-genre songwriter Tommy Simms has crafted tracks for everyone from Bruce Springsteen to Kelly Clarkson and Bonnie Raitt, plus earned a Grammy award with “Change the World,” recorded by Eric Clapton.
Reservations for the clinic are currently being taken for $169, which includes lunch. The clinic runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. American Sound Studios is located at 2231 R St. For more information visit asrstudios.com or call 661-864-1701.
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*Also printed in The Bakersfield Californian, 6-14-12