Interview by Dave Cotton
Saturday July 16th 2016 marks the second annual “Taco Fest” put on by Vancouver based production company Apocalypse Sunrise. 20 bands ranging from stoner rock to post punk are scheduled to provide the soundtrack to the revelry. Johnny Matter, the festival founder is a veteran organizer of these types of events. In addition to this being the second Taco Fest, Matter is responsible for the annual Diecember Fest which gathers many of the area’s best bands together on one bill every winter. When Matter isn’t working on event production he is the frontman for local doomers BOG and noise punk band MESS(one of the 20 bands slated to perform at the festival). Next weekend’s production seems to be Apocalypse Sunrise’s biggest to date and we were curious to what Johnny has been working on leading up to the event.
Svb: You have a lot of experience with organizing, curating, and founding festivals already with your work with the annual Diecemberfest and the inaugral Taco fest. This year’s edition of Taco fest seems to be the biggest event you’ve done by a large scale . What challenges have you faced with organizing a festival the magnitude of this year’s production, Saturday July 16th at Swanguard Stadium in Burnaby?
Johnny Matter: There are many challenges I’ve found doing a festival on this scale. A project of this magnitude is larger than just me alone. I’ve had to learn to hire people on and embrace their strengths by putting them into roles I know they’ll be good at. Learning to be patient and let go of certain aspects of the festival and trust the people we’ve hired on to do the job. For years I used to just run most of it on my own but there no way I can anymore with a production this large.
Another challenge I’ve found but more like a learning process than a challenge is working with the city and other larger scale organizations and companies that contribute to the festival. Building relations and working together for the best end result. It’s been an eye opener and pleasant experience overall.
Svb: What criteria, if any, do you look for when assembling the line up of bands for a festival?
Svb: Is there any advice you would like to offer to attendees of Taco Fest to ensure everyone has a good time?
JM: Come with an open mind.We got 20 bands playing non stop. You might not dig one of them as they all are very different. That’s cool, go get a taco or a beer and come back. Check out all the vendors before you decide on the first one that catches your eye. We have lots of tasty tacos and food from a variety of vendors. Rather than fill up on one, try a little from each. Check out the merchant vendor tents. There are a handful of local business that have some really cool stuff you can pick up. Don’t miss the Ring Of Fire eating challenge at 6pm also the launch of the GIGANTIC TACO PIÑATA AT 825pm.