Wasted Again

Vancouver, B.C's Other Festival

The Rocket (Seattle) May 16-30, 1996

By S. Duda

It hardly looked like they were running a music festival. When Gilles Zolty and Kris Mitchell sauntered into a downtown Vancouver, B.C. Starbuck's the Saturday morning of the Music West/Music Waste weekend, it would have been tough to guess that they were in the midst of pulling off the greatest coup yet for Music Waste, a four-year-old indie festival run in the face of the established Music West. This year, their festival jumped from from 25 to close to 125 bands in nine venues. Maybe it was the blue dreadlocks, maybe the mischievous, midmorning grins, but both Zolty (of the band Zolty Cracker) and Mitchell (from SMAK) seemed stress-free.

Their festival was moving along nicely too, thank you. "It's already been a success," Mitchell said. "We've gotten a ton of coverage, great shows, people are really coming out, and most importantly, all of these bands are getting together and getting to know each other. Music Waste has finally reached the masses and they're empowering themselves."

"Music Waste is about bands," Zolty said, floating a not-so-subtle swipe at Music West. "Music West is coming more from the industry point of view - signed, sold and shmoozed - and the band seems to be at the bottom of the totem pole. They may have started with good intentions, but it's leaned into a total corporate thing."

Easy for them to say. Music West has been doing the heavy lifting in Vancouver for a number of years, essentially paving the way for Music Waste to step in and swipe some of the spotlight. But criticism leveled at Music Waste for everything from cynical grandstanding to sour grapes from bands not talented enough to make the cut at Music West, has seemed to roll off the back of Music Waste's masterminds.

Love it or hate it, it is certainly tough to ignore Music Waste. Zolty and Mitchell were featured in a number of newspaper stories and bands from both festivals packed fans into bars all weekend. "It's not a war between Music West and Music Waste," Zolty said. "We do exist, in a sense, because of them, but there's room for everybody. We really have not slagged Music West - well, OK, yes we have - but it's fun playing with the establishment. They know that. Besides, it's become a bit of a tradition now."

But the slightly chaffing [sic] persona of Music Waste hasn't stopped Music West from courting Zolty and Mitchell, both of whom reportedly refused jobs at Music West. "We don't have a $100,000 budget," Mitchell said. "It's non-profit and it's gonna stay that way. It's going on its own momentum now, but the main point is to keep this focussed on the bands in this community. We want to shine a light here, but we don't want to babysit 120 bands. We want them to do it themselves. That's the whole point."


return to articles index

return to home page