Among Florida State‘s infamous tailgates, happy hours, and big name shows in Tallahassee lives an intimate monthly gathering of bass music lovers at 926 Bar & Grille called Bass Parade. For its one year anniversary event, “Bass Parade Plus” brought out the booming Tampa based DJ, D3V, as well as Typsy Gypsy, MXD, and Kraken. This time around, I got the chance to see what all the hype was about. Founder of the event, Ray Cano, known by his DJ stage name Rayrex, gave me some insight into the behind the scenes of this tradition.
How did Bass Parade come about?
I’d gotten to know people and I guess I had shown them that I knew how to run a night. I spearheaded two or three other nights that had run their course — until I came up with Bass Parade, that had a focus on bass music. It had a good run at Sidebar (now GVO) in 2016 — but I had too many people involved and quality control was an issue. There were problems I wasn’t aware of, accountability issues and, well, it kind of just fell on its face when the core team had gone their separate ways and the venue kicked it to the curb. So I took a break. I had taken a hiatus for about 6 months until its current home, 926 Bar & Grille, gave me the opportunity to run a night there. So I figured I’d try Bass Parade again, this time all by myself. This way I’d know where the money went — right back to the DJs — and the only person that could screw anything up would be me… and I could totally live with that. Bass Parade is just an extension of some of my personal values rolled into one night: keeping cover cheap because I want everybody to afford a good time, local DJs, and getting the fans involved.
What’s your favorite thing about hosting Bass Parade?
The amount of love I get. Ever since its revival at its current home, I wasn’t sure how long I’d be able to keep the ball rolling, and the next thing you know I have people volunteering their time to run visuals, offering to hand out flyers for free, and hey, I even had you take that awesome footage of the show! At the last event, someone came up to me to tell me that Bass Parade is the main reason they haven’t moved out of Tallahassee since they graduated FSU and all that love just makes me want to see how far I can make my little thing go.
What kind of people does Bass Parade attract? what’s special about the atmosphere?
Wooks, haha! No seriously, I’ve noticed I’ve seen mostly festival goers in the crowd that come to my shows, as well as locals who may not have the funds to hit up all the cool festivals. At the last show someone actually told me that they loved how Bass Parade was like a local monthly “mini festival” for bass music, and I can kind of see it! I love the fact that people feel that way about my show.
What’s special about the atmosphere here?
The atmosphere I’d have to say is a little different than most mainstream shows. The music is up-close and personal. You’re not a sea of people away from the headliner. You’re literally right there, headbanging with them to the music. I allow certain patrons to sell their art, creating a really cool culture aspect to my shows.
It’s also underground. My show seems to be becoming more and more popular – but I’m not spamming fans about presales or telling people to RSVP on Facebook for free entry, and I think that goes a long way for the vibe of my shows.
What are your plans for the future with BP?
I’ve announced that Im doing two shows a month starting in 2019. This will allow me to try new fun stuff like contests for fans to do a back-to-back DJ set with me, maybe even host a dance competition, as well as book even more local DJs. I think my plan is to see how far one man can take a vision. It only stops when it isn’t fun anymore. Part of that is making sure it stays fun is making the right choices (and sacrifices) with my show to keep it that way!
Just after going to the anniversary show, I can tell that the Bass Parade tradition is far from over. With more frequent gatherings in the works, we can expect a whole lot of bass on the horizon.
Come see for yourself in the new year:
January 3rd: “Happy New Wook!” with Cat Daddy, Licks, Ant Dawgy
January 17th: “New Wooks on the Block” with Dubyes, Suplex, CGul the DJ, and Sufed
February 21st: “DnB Invasion” Artists TBA