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Courtesy Beach Season

Factory Party to feature local bands

By Hayden McBennett, October 18 2016 —

On Oct. 22, veterans and virgins of Calgary’s music and arts scene will partake in the ninth installment of their take on Andy Warhol’s Factory Party. Organized by Randy Gibson and Aaron Ellard, the event will take place at the Centennial Planetarium. It will feature Calgary bands from all reaches of the city alongside larger art installations as a collaboration between The Factory Party and Contemporary Calgary.

“We wanted to attract a crowd of people who wouldn’t typically find themselves at an art event. We knew we needed some sort of scene,” Gibson says. “I’ve always been a big fan of pop art and Warhol specifically so after researching the original factory parties I knew this was a good way to combine party goers with the music scene.”

The Factory Party relies heavily on the open-minded approach of the ‘70s, allowing Calgary’s emerging artists to bring a contemporary edge with performances that span across genres.

“One of the things we really admire about that time period is the experimentation — how new and open everything was. We want to embody that type of experience,” Gibson says.

Gibson and Ellard have garnered a reputation for bringing together separate spheres of Calgary’s movers and shakers.

“There’s going to be a very large mix of individuals who would never be in the same room together, that’s one of the things that makes me happiest,” Gibson says. “That’s the biggest pay-off, seeing everyone starry-eyed and connecting over joy.”

The Factory Party touts a growing lineup of returning favourites and fresh faces. Bad Animal, Beach Season, Crack Cloud, Double Fuzz, The Famines and Lab Coast are all set to play overlapping performances in different areas of the planetarium.

Zach Choy of Crack Cloud says the diversity of the event is a highlight.

“I think we need a diverse crowd. That’s how you introduce people to something that they might not listen to otherwise. It’s super important to have an open mind and expose yourself to different things,” Choy says.

Andy Warhol’s nomadic New York gallery The Factory reigned supreme from the ‘60s–‘80s in all matters of art, opulence, experimentation, music and debauchery.

“Some people are there like it’s a rock show, some people are there to explore the art — but it’s definitely about the open mindedness of the time and the experimentation. The whole point is to do it in excess,” Ellard says.

Ben Painter, lead vocalist of Bad Animal, says the band is committed to the blowout while maintaining personal relevance and depth throughout their work.

“[A lot of people] think of us as just a party band, but if you compare our stuff with bands that have a similar style, it’s very different. When it comes to songwriting, I write a lot of personal things, a lot of fictional things. I think when you combine that it makes [us] really interesting — not just a stereotypical party band,” Painter says.

Similarly, as a member of Crack Cloud — a home-grown, experimental post-punk, art-rock quartet — Choy recognizes the joy of the revelry along with the artistic need for deeper appreciation.

“It’s a lot of fun to have people really drunk or messed up vibing to the music, but it’s something completely different to have a bunch of sober people really feeling what you’re putting out there and connecting to it,” Choy says.

This eclectic vibe will translate through the attendance of guests and artists from the previous eight events intermingling with guests who were probably too young to attend the first events.

“Age doesn’t really matter, we just want to see everyone have a good time. I think over the years we’ve seen a lot of different people come and go through this scene and it’s different for everyone. Trends will come and go, some good some bad, but that’s okay,” Biesinger says. “Life is hard so if something gives a burst of joy then that’s alright with us.”

Ellard says it was a simple decision to bring back a Calgary cult tradition.

“Calgary needs it. People [here] are bored. We need to bring some life back into the art scene. There are definitely some great artists and good things happening but we need to work on expanding it,” he says.

Though resurrecting a tradition comes with the risk of not living up to expectation, the creators and artists involved enthusiastically squash any doubt about remaining potential.

“We want the people returning to feel that sense of nostalgia and reconnect to some really great memories, but we also want younger people to contribute something that makes it unique. It’s going to be a good mix of what Calgary has to offer in terms of contemporary art and there’s going to be a throw-back component to it,” Ellard says.

Though The Famines aren’t new to The Factory Party, band member Drew Demers — a member since 2014 — is.

“I’m really excited. This is going to be my first experience along with a lot of the people attending. I want to bring a lot of energy. This is one of the very rare performances that we’re doing for [us], not for our label or for other bands,” Demers says.

Both Ellard and Gibson stress that the event will offer art, music and party lovers a chance to connect in an authentic, unadulterated way. The event will begin at 10:00 p.m.

“Come early, get everything you can out of the night. Embrace the theme — Calgary doesn’t provide a lot of opportunities to dress up like this. Stay for the whole time, bring an open mind and experience the most you can,” Ellard says.

Online tickets to The Factory Party have sold out, but it’s not too late to grab a hard copy for $30 at Our Daily Brett, Bar Von der Fels, Understudy or the Bridgeland Luke’s Drug Mart. Limited tickets will be offered at the door. Proceeds will contribute to funding Contemporary Calgary.

For more information, visit contemporarycalgary.com

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