The first Axis Mundi has come and gone and the reviews have been almost entirely positive. The lineup was great, the vibe was excellent, and things ran mostly smoothly. Only one thing went wrong.
“The weather was devastating,” said organizer Hugo Rampen.
“That aside, I thought the event design was really good. I thought it worked very well. People seemed appreciative of the music and what we tried to achieve with the lecture series, the adventure market and the activities we could do considering the rain.”
I met with Rampen at the Axis Mundi office on Campbell Avenue on Thursday. A few days after the event ended, he was the last of the staff there and he was busy paying bills — a lot of which will come out of his own pocket.
“We lost money,” he said. “I’m adamant we pay all the bills, so that money comes from me and I’m not a rich guy.”
The first Axis Mundi festival sold 700 tickets for the big Saturday night show. Rampen estimates the rain cost organizers another 1,000 ticket sales.
Otherwise, things went well. “I think the businesses got it and everyone seemed to enjoy it,” he said. “The concept went over well.”
The festival ran smoothly despite some last minute changes. The Friday shows and most of the day events were made free — a decision that was designed to build up excitement and create a vibe for the weekend. On Saturday, the big outdoor show was a hit, despite – or possibly because of – the rain and mudpit in front of the stage.
(This article continues following our gallery of photos from Axis Mundi)
On Sunday, the stage company had to be convinced to move the PA inside because of safety issues.
“It took five hours to shift gear and it took some convincing from me to the PA company to make it happen,” said Rampen. “It was my company’s reputation on the line and I’m adamant you have to put the safety of your patrons as the top priority.”
In the end, attendance for Sunday was capped at just under 300 people, and the decision likely resulted in lost ticket sales.
Rampen praised the volunteers, especially Martin Ralph and his crew of sound techs that handled the backline at many shows. Overall, he said the volunteers were “rock solid.”
“Every one of them stepped right up. (There was) a lot less volunteer truancy here,” he said.
Now, the focus shifts to the Axis Mundi Solstice festival tentatively scheduled for next June. Rampen said he will be meeting with local supporters like the Revelstoke Arts Council, Chamber of Commerce, Revelstoke Accommodation Association and Revelstoke Mountain Resort to talk about things moving forward.
“I’m excited about the whole event and I’m encouraged by the process and how we handled it and the team we developed, it’s just not easy taking a financial hit like that,” he said.
Peter Nielsen, the vice-president of RMR, said he was excited to see the venue at the resort in use and liked the potential it showed.
“Our look at this festival and what we really see as the upside to it, is we looked at this one as investing in the future,” he said.
Nielsen also sits on the boards of the Revelstoke Accommodation Association, Revelstoke Chamber of Commerce, and Tourism Infrastructure Committee. While he said none of the boards had met yet following the festival, he said there would likely be interested in keeping Axis Mundi going,
“From the conversations I had at both of those boards, it was about investing in an event that would drive awareness of Revelstoke as a destination and drive them here,” he said.