In the summer of 2005, thirty friends went camping with some minor sound equipment to celebrate the birthday of Shawn “Fozzy” Lafleur. The celebration went down in the history books while Shawn and his friends decided they should all do it again the following year. Plans were put in place to make the event bigger, better and give it an official name: FozzyFest. Ten years later this special celebration has expanded to 1,500 friends gathering together for 3 nights of music and fun.
“Those of us involved from the beginning thought that we would do this for a year or two and eventually it would fissle out. It is truly remarkable that we are going to be hosting the tenth anniversary this year.” – Shawn LaFleur
Facebook and the dawn of social media was just slowly coming out of the woodwork in 2005. Yet, somehow even while social media has become the hot craze it is today, FozzyFest mostly remained in the shadows of the underground utilizing the traditional approach in word of mouth advertising.
“My favorite part of the FozzyFest experience is definitely the people that attend the festival every year and the ‘Fozzy Vibe’ that you experience once on site. Because the festival has grown year over year by word of mouth, there is truly a special feeling of friendship and family that I haven’t experienced anywhere else. It all provides for a very safe and mellow environment where it is easy to meet new people.”
FozzyFest was originally held over the Canada Day long weekend, however last summer the organizers lost their location 5 days before the event due to the Alberta floods of 2013. Against all odds they managed to find a new site in the nick of time at Big Springs Campground in Grasmere, BC. It seemed as if everything that happened was meant to be. This bigger campground is located on the beautiful Lake Koocanusa and features a gorgeous sandy beach. But, even after what seemed like FozzyFest’s best year to date, they still experienced some more bumps along the road. The festival was forced to move the date to Sept 18th – 21st, 2014 when there will be less campers in the area to help alleviate the noise complaints. By agreeing to do this, FozzyFest was granted a special event license that exempts them from noise bylaws during the hours music is scheduled to play.
“The FozzyFest organizing committee have experienced many challenges throughout the years but we feel extremely proud that we’ve always been able to adapt and evolve to where we are today”
With these new changes, FozzyFest is on a testing ground again with the local area. It will be interesting to see what comes of the hard work and compromises in terms of feedback from the community residents and hopefully it will become a success. Luckily, Invermere Mayor Gerry Taft is on the festivals side and has pointed out to the residents of the area that people who attend festivals could one day become second homeowners in the South County. He stated that what seems like rowdy young people causing a nuisance today could one day be the people owning the houses in the area 10 to 20 years from now with their families and becoming model citizens of the community.
Macleans just reported on the success of the Shambhala Music Festival located in Salmo, BC. After 17 years of operation, it has been estimated that Shambhala brings about 24 million each year to the area. From our own personal experience, we already know of quite a few people whom have moved to the area to settle down and own a business. All of them agree they would of never even thought to move if it wasn’t for their experiences at Shambhala. Can FozzyFest one day create the same story for it’s attendees?
“It’s really hard to predict how things will evolve over the next 10 years. All I know is that we will continue to focus on bringing an amazing experience to all of our attendees every year.”
FozzyFest 2014 is now an extremely belated birthday celebration for Shawn but that is not breaking the festivals forward moving stride. 10 years is something remarkable and the organizers have a ton of tricks up their sleeves to make this year truly magical for everyone. With 3 stages, 1 chill tent, PK Sound, custom designed stages by Audio Empire and Space Invaderz, art installations, forest camping, food and artisan vendors, great music, good vibes, beach time action, lake swimming (or floating), all your friends, and hopefully you too!
One of FozzyFest’s mottos is ‘Welcome to the Collective Effervescence’ which refers to a perceived energy formed by a gathering of people.
“The people that come experience FozzyFest all come from different backgrounds and walks of life. Once you walk through the front gate everything changes for that weekend and we all become in tune to the same wavelength and contribute to a collective energy. FozzyFest is truly a transformational experience and people leave the festival with a feeling of happiness and sense of positivity that translates into everyday life.”
If this statement above from Fozzy doesn’t entice you to check out FozzyFest 2014 then stay home and miss out on what will be the last great bash of one epic festival season! Or, this statement warms your heart and you’ll be buying your tickets today if you haven’t already. Get them here.
We will see you on that sandy dance floor!!!