A walk through the Future Forest.



Close your eyes: envision yourself walking down a trail lit by magic, tiny lights scattered about the forest. Costumed characters prancing in the darkness, mind-bending visuals altering your perception, and the deeper you traverse, the louder the bass becomes. Down the rabbit hole, the source of the music is found atop a massive prism. Below, the crowd surges as the beat drops down like a wave breaking on the beach.  Blinking day turns to night, night turns to day merging three days into one, then it’s all over. Pupils return from dilation and you wonder if it was real or just a dream?

Blending music and illusion and just a touch of grime, Future Forest creates a space where emerging artists and heavy hitters alike can share the stage in the wilderness. A festival in its infancy, at just five years old, is raising the bar for East Coast music festivals with the construction of imaginative stages and true community immersion.  The popularity of this festival is credited to Tim Kukula’s (Founder and Curator) tireless efforts bringing in bangin’ music to a welcoming community. I caught up with Tim to chat about the massive changes in store for 2017 edition of Future Forest:

Sarina: Tim, you have a diverse background inclusive of studying international business, marketing and paramedics work. One wouldn’t imagine that DJing and creating an electronic music festival could be fitting the same resume.  Can you connect the dots for me?

Tim: Well I’ve been into electronic music since I was a kid. I guess it didn’t really change my passion for it. I was working as a paramedic for a while in St. Andrews, and then I got back into DJing, as no one else was playing good music. So then I moved to Saint John and there were no events going on so I started doing events, and it grew from there.  The community is so spread out it was hard to get people out to the events, so the only way it really makes sense is to provide a space where people can stay for a weekend.

S: You recently purchased a new plot of land for the festival. Can you tell me what we are to expect from the new space?

T: It’s almost impossible not to expand every year. We are growing, ya’ know, there is almost no way of going backwards. We are putting way more money into the visual arts this year.  We have a visual arts headliner coming from California (Gabriel Welch) and other visual wizards added to the lineup that will add a new element. 

(Click here for a little taste of the Future Forest festival grounds)

S: Each year you receive hundreds of applicants and artist entries. How do you sift through the masses to find the artists that embody the spirit of Future Forest?  Is this the same process for the headliners as is for visual artists?

T: For the artists, we’ve put a lot of effort into the application process for this year by creating the Future Pass Membership. Basically it creates a database of all the applicants that apply each year. Instead of having each artist re-apply each year, the Future Pass helps us create a way to manage the applicants and track of who is really involved in the festival.

S: Can you tell me more about the Future Pass?

T: Essentially, we’ve streamlined the process with the lifetime Future Pass. Artists are able to update their profile with a front-end editor, which allows them to upload their own music, pictures, and bios making it much easier on us. The pass is $30 and we are able to offer rewards such as discounts on Future Forest touring shows and other businesses. Obtain member feedback helping us to customize the festival to the needs of the community, even workshop registration! We are also able to give Future Forest specials, one of them being that if you weren’t selected to perform with your Future Pass, you will receive a $60 discount off your ticket price.  

S: The addition of PK Sound for the stage audio is beyond exciting! Having the pleasure of experiencing this madness myself at shows like Bassnectar and Excision, I can only imagine what these beasts can pump in an outdoor setting. Can you tell me a bit about what we are to expect this year with PK Sound?

T: I mean, we’ve been trying to get PK Sound out this way for a while now. I went to Shambhala for a few years in a row back from 2010 to 2012 or so. The system they had back then, it was CRAZZZY! It was definitely a different experience and I’m excited for people here to see the difference it makes and really experience that. The system itself is the Trinity Line and with Gravity 30-inch subwoofers. It’s a brand new system and I’ve never heard it before but yeah, I’m just as excited as everyone else if not more!

S: The tribes of Future Forest are really what make it such a special place. Recently, we saw a grand display of rallying of the masses for supporting the unfortunate break-in of your home. As terribly violating as it must be to have your own home picked over, how do you think this sort of love and positivity will strengthen the community of the festival?

T: Well, it was quite unexpected [to say the least]. Just how everything turned out and really we are extremely grateful. It’s really brought people together; I don’t even know how to explain it. It’s really hard to do that in a festival, to actually get everyone involved in working towards a common cause. Future Forest is getting more and more to that point of community. This year people really blew me all away, it’s like a big family for real. I think anything is possible with this community. Kinda like a responsibility where everyone is looking out for each other; that’s what festivals need. And what humans need quite frankly. That’s why we love going to festivals for that connection.

S: Are there any unspoken heroes among the staff that deserve a little recognition?

T: It’s just so hard because there are so many of them. I am hoping this year that with the member profiles with all the different leaders we can create an official staff list so people can get more credit where it’s deserved. For sure though, Danielle, our HR Coordinator, she does a ridiculous amount of work. These are the people that make it possible for festivals to even happen. That’s the whole thing about having so many great people involved in the festival. Like, I could never coordinate the art installations the way that Zoe does. Everyone has their own place in the community and really contributes to the festival.
 
S: What would be your most embarrassing moment that happened on site?

T: *sighs I really don’t know… I would say last year? I think it was last year. I went up on stage to thank everyone at the end of the festival and I literally got about 2 words in and just couldn’t do it anymore. I was so tired that I just blanked, said thank you, and just walked off. When you’re with family that stuff just doesn’t matter ya know?

As Future Forest is quickly approaching the stoked levels of festi-goers are rising with anticipation. I for one, cannot wait to experience the magic once again entering the forest July 28th to 31st     Tickets are hot so get in while the gettin' is good, with just a blink of an eye and the forest disappears for another year. 

Check out myf 2016  Future Forest photos here via Flikr

Sarina Wilson

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