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Revelstoke’s Axis Mundi Harvest festival: where music, creativity and adventure meet

A music festival like no other, Axis Mundi Harvest, is descending upon Revelstoke for three days this September. Axis Mundi is a mythical place where heaven and earth connect and the four compass points meet. Revelstoke, with its railway tracking east to west, the mighty Columbia River rushing north to south and the feeling of rising to heaven at Revelstoke Mountain Resort, makes Revelstoke a suitable holy ground for this event.

Rising stars Walk Off The Earth will headline at the Axis Mundi Harvesti festival, their last Canadian performance before embarking on a European tour. Photo: contributed
Rising stars Walk Off The Earth will headline at the Axis Mundi Harvest festival, their last Canadian performance before embarking on a European tour. Photo: contributed

From September 18–20, 2015, our mountain town of Revelstoke will become a hub of creative activity as this Axis Mundi biannual fall festival plays out for the first time.

The main venue is a natural amphitheatre at Revelation Lodge at Revelstoke Mountain Resort. Photo: Axis Mundi
The main venue for Axis Mundi is a natural amphitheatre at Revelation Lodge at Revelstoke Mountain Resort. Photo: Axis Mundi

Axis Mundi will provide a more unique experience than just music performances and organizer Hugo Rampen believes Revelstoke suits his vision perfectly, providing the launch-pad for a festival akin to cutting edge and innovative European festivals. It incorporates not only music but multiple events true to the Axis Mundi four pillars; culture, adventure, community and the environment.

“I wanted to create an event that was not just music, so it’s like Mountain Equipment Co-op meets TED Talks meets music festival meets mum’s kitchen,” Rampen explained. “It’s a place where you can be nurtured psychologically, physically, emotionally and culturally.”

Most recently, Rampen’s team have secured inspirational coach Shandro Crawford to speak and the Sherpas Cinema, which will show the popular Ashes to Aggasiz film, the story of mountain biker Graham Agassiz and his comeback from injury.

 

The Axis Mundi festival also includes four other speakers in its line-up, two of which, Jamie Andrew and local Greg Hill, are mountaineers with incredible stories to tell. Other offerings throughout the weekend include a variety of photography workshops, a gear swap, community projects, food fairs, family events and a range of adventure activities including stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking demos.

Rampen has been in the music game since 1994 and his experience involves organizing festivals that attract 15,000 guests a day. This Axis Mundi Revelstoke festival will be a more low-key event with the quantity of weekend tickets capped at 3,000, allowing the festival to be true to Revelstoke’s spirit and allow both the festival and community to grow together.

Three-day tickets to Axis Mundi cost $100 and even cheaper day tickets are available. It’s an all ages event and families are encouraged to get involved with free tickets for kids under the age of 12.

“Revelstoke has an incredibly strong community spirit [with] great affection for outdoor sports,” Rampen said. “It’s an environmentally concerned community and a community that loves music.”

Rampen describes the music performance selection as a balance between popular and cultural music with world music, electronic, Canadian roots and some alternative roots.

“Hopefully people will be surprised and entertained,” he said.

Revelstoke's downtown heritage district will be a bustling hive of activity during the Axis Mundi Harvest festival. Photo: Aaron Orlando
Revelstoke’s downtown heritage district will be a bustling hive of activity during the Axis Mundi Harvest festival. Photo: Aaron Orlando

The night of Friday, September 18, will utilize some of Revelstoke’s cool downtown venues including second hand bookstore Castle Joe’s, cocktail bar/restaurant Chubby Funsters and cozy pub The Last Drop, in an Axis Mundi music crawl.

During the days of Saturday, September 19 and Sunday, September 20, attendees have a choice of music workshops to attend, an adventure workshop, community events and guest speakers before the typical music festival main stage events at the scenic Revelstoke Mountain Resort begins. Axis Mundi headliners will perform from 6pm at mid mountain’s Revelation Lodge.

Rising stars Walk The Earth and Canadian icon Ashley MacIsaac are just one of many top performers Rampen has secured from all over the world and he describes the other musical offerings as a wide variety. These include The Floozies, a brother duo from just outside the jazz mecca of Kansas City, who mix DJ with live instrumentation.

“Very funk-based and you’re going to hear a lot of those old soul funk hits that you so dearly love, the classic ones, intertwined with their instrumentation,” Rampen explained.

Sticky Fingers from Australia will attend this festival following their European tour as an introductory point to break into the North American market.

The Floozies, brother duo from Kansas, USA, will play at the Axis Mundi Harvest festival. Photo: Publicity shot.
The Floozies, brother duo from Kansas, USA, will play at the Axis Mundi Harvest festival. Photo: Publicity shot

“[They’re a] great all roots band, that’s what I would call them,” Rampen said. “They are selling out shows before the shows are even posted in Australia.”

And The Grounders and Highs are two alternative pop bands out of Toronto, both signed to strong independent labels and both have new releases coming out. They will be performing at more intimate shows in the music crawl.

Axis Mundi Harvest Tickets: Buy here. Weekend tickets are $100 for the entire weekend, day passes are available and entry to music events in town venues will require wrist-band access.

Axis Mundi Harvest video previews

Check out this video preview of most of  the artists and presenters announced so far, as previewed in the Revelstoke Mountaineer:

Walk Off The Earth

After exploding onto the world’s radar with over 165 million views of their unique cover of Gotye’s ‘Somebody That I Used To Know,’ Walk Off The Earth have made a name for themselves in their own right. Listen to their latest single above and get a taste of this band’s musical potential with their individual, contemporary sound.

Ashley MacIsaac

He’s rugged, some might even call him bad-ass, and he can play a mean tune on the fiddle. In a world where this stringed instrument is not so often heard, Ashley brings the listener back to the folk arts, blending traditional Celtic compositions with a rock ‘n’ roll flair. Hailing from Nova Scotia, this artist will get your feet stomping and the crowd jumping with his electrifying performance.

The Floozies

Brothers Matt and Mark Hill share the stage just as easily as they share a musical brain. They come from just outside the jazz mecca of Kansas City and their sound is laid-back with funky, techno beats and fueled by the swing of Basie, the birth of Charlie Parker’s bebop, and the wild frontier of electronica.

Adham Shaikh

Shaikh skillfully weaves organic and electronic sounds into global music tapestries that take listeners on sonic journeys transcending time and place. His style is an alternate worldly mix with positive, meditative sounds set to funky drum beats.

Aspen Switzer


Singer Aspen Switzer captivates with her pure and powerful voice which brings life to the subtle poetry in her lyrics. She has evolved a style that is her own, but her influences range from folk to country and bluegrass to rock and jazz. Aspen effortlessly builds a rapport with her audience, showing them her humour, authenticity and humanity.

Baskery

Baskery’s aim is to never stop surprising. The band is a trio of sisters and they’re all about turning the music on its head, blending the straightforwardness of punk with the subtlety of singer/songwriting. They have an individual sound and perform with inexhaustible energy.

Buckman Coe

Bridging the worlds of roots, soul, and reggae, Vancouver’s Buckman Coe is a passionate believer in the power of music to shape the future. His sun-kissed folk, gospel-tinged soul, intoxicating world-beat melodies and psychedelic rock sensibility all play a part in providing the sonic platform for Coe’s soulful and conscious lyrics.

Dominique Fraissard

Dominique Fraissard hails both from the long hot highways of Australia and the mountains of Canada’s west where he now resides in the North Slocan Valley. There is a timelessness to his folk and roots style music and his acoustic guitar tunes complement his earthy lilt and urban edge.

Greg Hill

Revelstoke’s Greg Hill has a passion for ski mountaineering and he shares his experiences as a motivational speaker. Named one of the Top 25 Fittest Guys in the World 2011 for climbing and skiing two million feet in a year, Greg has set records and established many firsts on mountains the world over.

Grounders


Welcome to the weird and wonderful pop world of Toronto-based band Grounders, with dreamy, reverb-drenched intros and space-age guitar melodies. For every catchy hook and lush arrangement of their tracks there is a woozy counterpoint that keeps things slightly off-kilter.

Highs

Toronto’s Highs have been rapidly building momentum with their upbeat, feel-good pop music. Influenced by time spent travelling, their EP is a collection of songs that reflect on growing up, the concept of home, and spirituality. Their show is tight and calculated while remaining true to the whimsical nature of their songs.

Jamie Andrew


Despite losing his hands and feet at 29, Jamie Andrew has persevered with his love of life and mountaineering. The tragedy occurred when he and fellow mountaineer Jamie Fisher were trapped for five nights on a stormy, icy summit in the French Alps. Fisher did not survive but Andrew went on to relearn and succeed at walking and everyday daily tasks. He has since succeeded in sports and mountaineering.

Six String Nation

What does it mean to be Canadian? Six String Nation is one guitar that embodies the spirit of Canada. The guitar is made from 63 items of real Canadian history and heritage in wood, bone, metal and stone representing different cultures, communities and characters from every province and territory of the country. This guitar has traveled more than 200,000km across Canada and has been played and held by hundreds of musicians.

Les Copeland

One of British Columbia’s finest blues artists, Les Copeland is primarily self-taught and his unique sound has developed out of a rich mixture of influences including blues, jazz, Spanish flamenco, pop and classical music. From down home Delta to uptown Chicago blues, Les can improvise anything.

Little Hurricane

Little Hurricane is an American rock and dirty blues duo, based out of San Diego, California. Singer/guitarist Tone Catalano and drummer/vocalist C.C. Spina’s influences include Van Morrison, Dead Weather, Gorillaz and The Beatles. Their stripped-down brutal energy brings a live sound that is raw and honest.

The Nyundo School Road Show

In 2014 Canadian musician Jacques Murigande (aka The Mighty Popo) quietly checked out of the Canadian music scene, and with the support of the Rwandan government, began the task of establishing the first public music school in Rwanda. Located in Nyundo in the Rubavu district of Western Province, the Nyundo School of Art and Music encourages confidence and musical expression. Axis Mundi Harvest is honoured to be able to showcase a group of hand picked and exceptionally talented students from Nyundo at this year’s festival in Revelstoke.

Rachelle van Zanten


Known for her powerful live performances and equally powerful social activism, the acclaimed Canadian slide guitarist/singer pulls no punches in her latest album ‘Oh Mother.’ Expect socially conscious lyrics with dirty guitar riffs and soulful singing in a way that neatly captures the essence of her northern British Columbia origins and the the issues the region currently faces.

Rodney DeCroo


Raw and vulnerable, Rodney DeCroo’s recent music is a result of tumultuous battle where he struggled with PTSD. His acoustic arrangements are powerful and fragile.

Severn Cullis-Suzuki


At the tender age of nine, Canadian Severn Cullis-Suzuki recognised that society and ecology were in conflict so she started the Environmental Children’s Organisation with her friends, which was committed to learning and teaching other kids about environmental issues. Today Severn believes that science and media communication is important for informing global change for future generations.

Sherman “TANK” Doucette


Bluesman Sherman Doucette was a staple of the Vancouver music scene for 30 years. Now this harmonica virtuoso resides in Kelowna with a new band and mixes the blues classics and originals with his typical passion and conviction. In 1977, he survived a massive explosion in a lumber mill, which left him in the hospital for six months recovering from burns to 50% of his body earning him the name ‘Tank’.

Sticky Fingers


If the Clash, Pink Floyd and Arctic Monkeys are three beads of sweat that meet rolling down your back, Sticky Fingers are there licking it up. It’s this raw Aussie humour that bonds Sydney band members Dylan, Paddy, Seamus Coyle, Beaker and Freddy. STIFI is a melting pot of reggae, psych, pop and their debut album, Caress Your Soul, dropped in March 2013, with multiple charting singles and a spot on JJJ Hottest 100.

Tequila Mockingbird Orchestra

This acoustic ensemble has wandered from the underground of bohemian Victoria, in Canada’s lush west coast, to a new, refined sound crafted by years of constant performing and touring together. Drawing on flamenco flourishes from Spain, to African percussion, and American bluegrass and roots music, their sound is distinct, eclectic and earthy.

The Walkervilles

Soulful and groovy, The Walkervilles are a Motown/Rock influenced group from Windsor, Ontario. Musicians Pat Robitaille, Mike Hargreaves and Stefan Cvetkovic seamlessly fit together like a sexy bowtie and a perfect-fitting suit. In the sweet heaven height of these songs, you’ll close your eyes and pretend Robitaille’s singing to you, that Hargreaves’ wants you home with him while he writes you a love song, and that Cvetkovic’s drumming his fingertips on your lower back.
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