Otalith Music Festival 2015 · Ucluelet BC

In photography by webmeister Bud

And now, my favourite moments of Otalith Music Festival 2015.

20150901 - Otalith 2015-0001Canon EOS 70D · Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM · 18 mm · 1/1000 s · f/3.5 · ISO 400 · 7-shot panorama

Click to see the whooole thing

The chill.

This was, hands down, the most relaxed festival atmosphere I’ve ever experienced. As a guy who’s used to strict timing, tight security, and stressed organizers, this was . . . weird. But, I loved it, too.

20150901 - Otalith 2015-0002Canon EOS 70D · Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM · 140 mm · 1/2000 s · f/3.5 · ISO 400

DJ Murge.

Ah, Josh. A super-nice guy who’s a DJ, music producer, and venue manager at the Victoria Conservatory of Music. He also looks sharp in a suit. =) His set was fantastic— his sets were fantastic. He filled all four slots at the session stage — performing in between each mainstage act — the entire first day.

20150901 - Otalith 2015-0003Canon EOS 70D · Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM · 105 mm · 1/350 s · f/3.5 · ISO 400

The rowdiest Jon and Roy set ever.

Jon and Roy epitomize a festival like Otalith. Their music is generally relaxing, happy, surf-y, and west coast-y. It gets the crowd going, but never in a stage-diving sort of way.

Well, until this performance. No less than five times, I saw people climb onto the stage (some stopping to dance) before diving off into the crowd again. Completely unheard of for this band. They . . . rigged up a security barrier the next day.

These two special guests were, thankfully, were invited on stage. River, son of bass player Lou, and his best friend Martin, son of Jason Lamb of The Zone. They danced and were hilarious. The masterstroke line from Martin, son of a comedian was this:

Martin: Hello! How are you?
Crowd: *cheers*
Martin: I can’t hear you!
Crowd: *cheers louder*
Martin: No, really! I can’t hear you! I’m wearing earplugs!

20150901 - Otalith 2015-0004Canon EOS 70D · Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 · 98 mm · 1/250 s · f/3.5 · ISO 1600

The Dodos.

What is it about two-person bands? These guys were among the most musically tight musicians I’ve ever heard and, the moment I got home to internet and running water, I sought out more of their music.

20150901 - Otalith 2015-0005Canon EOS 70D · Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 · 70 mm · 1/250 s · f/2.8 · ISO 1600
Canon EOS 70D · Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM · 35 mm · 1/250 s · f/1.8 · ISO 1600

The kids.

Festivals, man. A great place to let your kids run wild (within reason) in an unsupervised (within reason) manner, and watch ’em enjoy the festival vibe like only littles can.

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Jesse Roper.

Despite a scratchy throat (which, I hate to admit, made the set a bit more amusing), Jesse and his band (including special guest Malcolm from Band of Rascals, a local band Jesse’s band often jams with) was on point during their set.

Mind, before their set, this madness was traveling up and down the road outside the fest. Excellent prepromotion.

20150901 - Otalith 2015-0007Canon EOS 70D · Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM · 18 mm · 1/750 s · f/4.5 · ISO 640

Jesse is probably one of those people who will cause worldwide tears to be shed should he ever cut his hair. Until that day comes, however, I have great opportunities to capture his amazing mane in midair.

20150901 - Otalith 2015-0008Canon EOS 70D · Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM · 29 mm · 1/500 s · f/4.5 · ISO 800

And here, ladies and jellyspoons, is my shot of the festival: Jesse’s magical smile, and the many who adore it.

20150901 - Otalith 2015-0009Canon EOS 70D · Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 · 165 mm · 1/3000 s · f/3.5 · ISO 800


I’ve long heard of Grossbuster through the Wolf/Sheep collective, and thought that I’d seen him live, but I was wrong. Dead wrong. ’cause if I’d ever seen this performance before, I would’ve remembered it. This kind of music is exactly what I wish I had time to pursue. I’m totally following this guy’s tour dates to see more of his skills.

Grossbuster isn’t a DJ. He’s a . . . wow, how would I describe him? A live sampler, I’d say. When he’s not playing his keyboard to reggae loops, he has amazing talent with a Native Instruments 16-pad MIDI controller called The Maschine and, by combining his incredible sense of rhythm with different samples in each finger-tapped pad, he constructs music from, well, parts of music. And it’s an incredible live performance to watch.

I just reread that paragraph, and it doesn’t make a lot of sense. Maybe just . . . watch this!

20150901 - Otalith 2015-0010Canon EOS 70D · Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 · 160 mm · 1/500 s · f/2.8 · ISO 800

The happy.

I know the festival vibe. It’s laid back, it’s uninhibited, it’s just so . . . happy. It’s infectious, and great to soak up.

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The Coup.

“Otalith Festival! We are The Coup! We come from Oakland, California! And we came . . . to funk!”

Boots Riley said this in between every song for pretty much the first half of The Coup’s set. But, their music — their stage presence — was so grand and passionate and powerful and, well, funky. I could forgive the repetitive branding. It became a fun little singalong after a while.

I would have to say that this was the standout band of the fest. T’was a large group of very talented people (the keyboard player rapped, and the bass player did freestanding flips WHILE PLAYING) playing very soulful and intense music. A brilliant performance I’d seek out again.

20150901 - Otalith 2015-0012Canon EOS 70D · Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM · 35 mm · 1/125 s · f/2.8 · ISO 1600

The Black Lips.

To be perfectly honest, I don’t really remember what The Black Lips’ music sounded like. I was concentrating too hard on trying not to get crushed and protect my fellow rocktographers as moshers tried their damndest to squish everyone at the security barrier into ground meat. But I got a couple of cool shots in between fearing for my life!

20150901 - Otalith 2015-0013Canon EOS 70D · Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM · top: 32 mm · bot: 19 mm · 1/250 s · f/1.8 · ISO 1600