MUSIC: ‘Bigger and better’: Q&A with the founder of Surrey’s FVDED in the Park

Blueprint’s Alvaro Prol talks about annual fest returning to Holland Park on July 2-3

Jack Ü and other beat-heavy dance

SURREY — This city’s largest ticketed music festival will return to Holland Park on July 2 and 3. More cutting-edge sounds are offered at the second annual FVDED in the Park, a two-day collection of beat-heavy dance, hip-hop, rap and R&B artists that debuted here in 2015.

The “block party” event, the largest urban music festival in Metro Vancouver, has the capacity to host close to 40,000 attendees over the long weekend.

CLICK HERE to view the event website.

The Now recently caught up with Alvaro Prol, a co-founder of Vancouver-based Blueprint entertainment company, to talk about planning for the 2016 edition of FVDED (Fvdedinthepark.com), to feature Jack Ü, Zedd, Travis Scott, Bryson Tiller, Carnage and others.

(INTERVIEW CONTINUES BELOW PROMO VIDEO)

The Now: How has planning gone for this year’s event so far?

Prol: “This is the second time we’re there, so many of the people already know how it’s going to work, including our team and also the people with the city. We’re ready and we’re improving, tweaking, to make it better than the last one.”

Last year’s event was considered a success, with even the police saying they were happy with the “very well behaved” attendees. Do you think it went well?

“I think last year went really well, and going in, some people didn’t know what to expect from the site. Operationally, people got in there quick, got out of there quick, those things, and we learned a lot. I think last year was a big success.… We do a lot of big events in the region, including at BC Place and the arenas in town. People bring good energy to our events and want to have fun, that’s safe to say.”

What was the final attendance figure last year?

“I think it was 27,000 people. This year, we expect more, up to our capacity of 20 (thousand) a day, sell it out. We’ve already surpassed last year’s numbers, so we’re on our way.”

(PICTURED: Alvaro Prol of Blueprint)

You had a couple of high-profile headlining acts last year, with Deadmau5 and The Weeknd. What are your thoughts about this year’s headliners?

“Last year, with The Weeknd there, that was a great one for us to have, and this year, you know, the one who’s coming is Bryson Tiller, but he’s not headlining yet, it’s a bit early for him. It’s just timing trying to find that contemporary R&B, hip-hop act on the other side like we did last year. You go after all your targets, then sometimes the artists you want to headline, as a curator, are not available. Sometimes it’s flipped, so instead of having a strong dance guy and strong R&B guy headlining on the two nights, you have strong dance artists with R&B artist before, like we have with Travis Scott and Bryson Tiller, who sells out instantly wherever he goes. He’s probably the hottest R&B act out there, and Travis Scott is by far one of the hottest hip-hop guys in the game right now.”

Is this lineup as strong as 2015?

“I think the lineup is a lot bigger and better than last year, actually. We have a way more substantial lineup, and by adding a third stage we have a lot more depth. We have some real hidden gems. When I speak to festival promoters and (talent) buyers from other cities, they really compliment our lineup because you really have to be kind of a music nerd to go through all of these names and know who’s who.… A lot of the people coming for the headliners will be educated by the depth of this lineup. We’ve added seven or eight acts this year, over last. It’s more bang for the buck.”

What are the details about the third stage you’ve added?

“We have a stage by the fountain area that has a unique design to it, called the FVDED Lab. I’m excited about that.… Last year we had the two stages, which were the main stage which we called the Pacific Stage and then the Northwest Stage, a smaller stage to the right. This year we activated the middle with the FVDED Lab, a stage for newer, more cutting-edge, rising acts. We have a bunch of Canadian people, Vancouver artists, playing it, like Tommy Genesis and Pomo, who just won a Juno, and Humans, who were up for a Juno, too. We’re trying to make that a bit of a starting point, a showcase for some of the local artists making noise here, and emerging talent. Because of where that stage is located, people will get to hear a lot of cool new stuff, so I’m really excited about that. We’ve also changed the mainstage a bit by putting some more action on it.”

Any other big changes?

“There’s more programming because we changed the days from Friday/Saturday to Saturday/Sunday this year, the weekend days. Friday was tough because it was a shorter day of music, so we moved it and now have two full days. It adds more depth to the festival, for sure. We’re also improving the customer service this year – the food and beverage side of things.”

Has planning already started for the 2017 festival?

“We are already looking ahead to next year, for sure.… I would love for this thing to become a boutique-size festival, because you can’t grow there anymore – the size of the venue is what it is. So we try to make it the must-go in the city. It’s very accessible, that site, from a transportation standpoint. And not everyone has the money to go to Coachella, Pemberton, those big out-of-town festivals. This is in town.”

Do you know how many people from Surrey attend the festival?

“At least a third of them are from Surrey and overall, at Blueprint, we see similar numbers at our other properties.… I think a festival like this brings real profile to a city like Surrey. You know, now that Squamish (Valley Music Festival) is not happening, it’s a bummer for that city, in my opinion, to not have that as a talking point, a source of good energy toward the city. I think it’s in Surrey with FVDED.”

tom.zillich@thenownewspaper.com

 

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