The first weekend of July isn’t just reserved for Canada Day hangovers and camping trips. It is also when FVDED will return to Surrey’s Holland Park.
Even though FVDED is only in its second year, the idea has been around for much longer, according to Alvaro Prol of Blueprint. “We always wanted to do something that was unique to us,” he said. “We’ve seen a lot of things come and go, and what worked [or] what didn’t. We knew we wanted to do something that was more accessible, something that was a little more urban in its offering.”
Wanting to have an accessible and more urban festival location comes into play: “Once the park got refurbished for the Olympics in 2010 there was always an opportunity to do something there. When the Mumford & Sons event happened there, it was the first big kind of concert to happen [at Holland Park]. We went because our partner Live Nation was producing that show and that’s when we said, ‘OK, we are going to bring this festival here,’” said Prol.
Holding FVDED in Holland Park wasn’t just about being able to use an updated space, but also using an easily accessible one. Stated Prol, “We have a festival site right in the city where people can take a SkyTrain and be at the doors of the festival without having to worry about parking or staying in a hotel or camping and all the different kinds of costs and inconveniences that it takes to get to a festival.
“There really is something unique about the space and it spoke very much to what we do. We are a city, urban group. We wanted to do something that reflected us,” he said.
For Prol, there was also a need to keep the festival from being too much like other festivals — not only in terms of location, but also affordability. “We wanted to sound more like a gathering in a park, and portray a more down-to-earth vibe. Anybody could get on a flight and be at Coachella if they really wanted to, or go here or go there. I didn’t want to be this super expensive festival that was only accessible to certain affluent people that have all this money.
“This year I went to Coachella, I was there and you just looked at everybody and they just looked like a bunch of affluent, rich yuppies. You’re missing so much of that raw energy and vibe from other music lovers that can’t afford that type of experience. That’s what I like about this festival is that it is accessible to all, in transportation and affordability.”
Since so many festivals take place outside the cityscape, Prol wanted to focus on the urban landscape of Vancouver. “If you haven’t come to Vancouver and you are coming for the first time and you are in the SkyTrain going from downtown all the way to Surrey, and you see the beauty of our city all around. You don’t have to go and camp five hours away to see our beauty.
“So, from a Vancouver perspective, showcasing the [beauty of the] city at the forefront, and getting people over to Surrey from a visitor standpoint — that is one of [the] things that we want to achieve. For Surrey and the region, it is such a positive event in the sense of chatter and social media hits. There is so much good press that I think this is a really good thing for the region.”
For a major company, the importance that Blueprint and Prol — the creative forces behind this year’s lineup — place on local and Canadian artists is refreshing to see, especially when there are numerous festivals that would rather bring in multiple big-name acts than support the local ones.
“We are very motivated to help develop and give situations and positions to some of the local guys that are working hard and being successful. The good thing about our local music scene is that it is very healthy right now. We have a lot of great producers. It’s been a while since we’ve had so many different kinds of acts coming out of Van that are making noise.”
Prol did express some disappointment at not being able to get two Canadian artists to headline the festival like last year with the Weeknd and Deadmau5, but given that the rest of the lineup does have a Canadian focus with artists like Belly, Kaytranada, and Pomo, helping mitigate the lack of a Canadian headliner.
With a local and Canadian focus, a third stage added, and tickets already 85 percent sold, it seems safe to say that Holland Park with be a home for FVDED for years to come.