We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Sean Mayo, founder of Back to The Forest Music Festival. The 15 hour festival lands on Saturday May 6, 2017 in Pritchard British Columbia.
1. First off, can you introduce yourself to our readers?
Hey Guys, Sean Mayo here. Heading up IUG: Interior Underground Events based out of Kamloops BC.
2. How long have you been involved in the Okanagan dance music scene?
I started hosting events in Kelowna in 2004 back when Level Niteclub first opened, back then I partnered with another guy under the promo name Top Rope Entertainment, we held bi-weekly events on Saturdays in the clubs there, thats how I got started.
3. Favourite genre?
Favourite would have to be Electro House. Anything 4 on the floor, Bassline House, Deep House etc. Also a big fan of breaks.
4. Whom, or what, inspired you to begin planning Back to The Forest?
When I first moved back to Kamloops in 2009 after living in Kelowna for 6 years, I tried hosting events in the local bars, but the Kamloops scene for electronic music was all but non-existant. The few club shows I attempted didnt have a very good response at all, so we took our events outdoors and they immediately took off in a big way.
5. What were your/the team’s inspirations behind the name Back to The Forest?
The event is always held on the first weekend of May, and is usually the first big outdoor event of the year for the Interior & Okanagan. So after being cooped up indoors all winter, its your first chance to go 'Back to the Forest' and dance your butt off at an outdoor event.
6. What other sponsors/collaborators are on-board for this Festival?
We have no sponsors, but we work closely with other promo crews and production companies that have made a name for themselves throughout the interior and okanagan, such as Emengy, Lucid, Hi Society, ORA Laser and Student Union Productions. We've also teamed up wth PK Sound this year to bring the biggest and loudest stage possible.
7. How has the festival progressed/changed since Back to The Forest 1.0 right up to 6.0?
I think the most memorable thing about BTTF for me is the natural progression over the years. It started as just a party for me and my friends to go play music out in the woods without the 'Top40' constraints the local bars were trying to impose on us, a way to play the music we wanted to. The first event had about 100 ppl at it and was held on crown land, little backwoods party, prob a 5,000 watt soundsystem. Since then its developed into its own little mini-festoval with 600 ppl in attendance last year and a Massive PK Rig that is comparable in size to stages at much bigger festivals.
8. Seeing as the Festival line-up is already announced, can you give a first-time attendee a small glimpse of what to expect at Back to The Forest?
An all-out party for sure, our soundsystem this year dwarfs all previous events, and with the addition of a ton of vendors, food truck, and second stage, you get the whole festival experience crammed into 24 hours and for about 1/10th of the cost of the big festivals.
9. If you had to pick one, which artist are you most excited to have perform at BTTF?
I cant just pick one, im excited to see all of them! The one thing im most excited for at BTTF is the debut of the PK Gravity 30 subwoofers. Every artist playing is going to sound amazing when their music is being pushed through the truly massive system we have at the event. For me, the PK soundsystem is the real headliner at this years event.
10. Are there plans in the future for possibly expanding BTTF to a 2-day festival?
Ideally yes, I even considered going two days this year but decided to go one more year of one-night and just max out the stage to try and propel is into the next realm, so ppl know what to expect as far as production quality if we go to two days next year.
11. Here at Emengy, we are excited to have some of our artists perform at BTTF this year. Has the booking process been difficult for you over the years, or have you found it quite easy to recruit/book talent?
There's never a shortage of ppl wanting to play at events, the interior and okanagan has so many amazingly talented djs. The hardest thing about picking a lineup is trying to figure out who to give slots to and who to cut. I had so many ppl asking to play this year it was a very tough choice to make when booking. This year I wanted to bring some more heavy-hitters and headliners to my lineup, so we added the second stage to be able to include as many artists as possible.
12. What can fans/followers expect to see next from you in the second half of 2017?
Last year we held a halloween event called 'A Multiverse Halloween', it was an absolute blast, the theme was the Rick & Morty Multiverse and it went over very well. I hope to host it again this year.
Like our friends over at Canadian Beats, we like to allocate a section of our interviews of questions that will allow fans to get to know more about you.
Who are your favourite Canadian artists?
Average Gypsy, Pigeon Hole, Kytami, SkiiTour, Black Tiger Sex Machine, Funk Hunters, StickyBuds, Neon Steve.
As a performing artist under Mayo, who are your musical influences?
I was heavily influenced by Deekline & all forms of Booty breaks in my early years, was also a huge fan of fidget house when it came on the scene around 2010.
What was the first album you purchased? What was the last?
I bought the Krafty Kuts & Skool of Thought Dbl-Disc Album HeavyWeight Breaks when I was 19 (2002) and it changed my life. Loved it. Right now im a huge fan of the France Based Record Label 'Gold Digger Records' and I find myself buying a lot of their releases.
What is your favourite summertime activity?
Partying? Lol. Festivals of course. And myself and a large group of friends go house boating every year in July on the Shuswap its so much fun. I also just bought a Kayak and practice Archery.
What is one thing you cannot leave your home without?
My Music. (Aka my cell phone where my music is stored)
If you could have any super power, what would it be and what would you want to do with it first?
Id like to be able to shape shift into some kind of crazy beast or monster and id basically go rogue and live in the woods and scare/eat people for fun.
Finally, is there anything else you would like to say to our readers?
If youve never been, come out to Back to the Forest, I guarantee itll be the best $60 youve ever spent. Cheers and thank you!