Bass Camp Festival founder Paul Reder stopped by to give us some insight into the event’s sixth edition.
Since 2013, Bass Camp Festival has brought hoards of electronic music enthusiasts together to indulge in a weekend of music, fun, and camaraderie in the heart of Lake Tahoe. Year after year since its inception, the festival has consistently boasted lineups featuring headliners to drool over and noteworthy rising artists to keep on your radar. Along with remarkable music acts, the event maintains an exceptional sense of community, as day-one devotees and newcomers alike come together to revel in the weekend-long euphoria. Set to take place this July 28-30 at the new location of Wingfield Park in Reno, NV, Bass Camp Festival VI is guaranteed to be another one for the books.
When attending any festival, it’s easy to focus on the incredible artists performing and the wonderful memories you’re bound to make as an attendee – that’s a given. But have you ever truly taken the time to familiarize yourself with the behind-the-scenes players of these events? Behind the curtains of every show or festival you go to, there’s a dedicated team of humans doing the heavy work to bring you the incredible experiences that transpire. While we as festivalgoers get to reap the fun parts of it all, these teams put in loads of time, money, and energy to ensure that the spectacle can go on, let alone go above and beyond to meet our expectations.
Paul Reder, CEO and founder of Bass Camp, dedicates his life to curating unforgettable music events for the people. Apart from just putting on the annual Bass Camp Festival, Paul also oversees the Bass Camp record label and music promotion company, which puts on a slew of shows year-round in Nevada and California. To get a better idea of what goes into running Bass Camp and what we can expect for this year’s edition of the festival, we looked to Paul for some valuable expertise. He gave us the info on his background as a music promoter and CEO, as well as some of the challenges and rewarding aspects of putting on a festival, his personal favorites on this year’s lineup, and tons more.
Tickets for Bass Camp Festival VI are still available on the Bass Camp website, so secure yours today and read on for our full conversation with founder Paul Reder!
Hey Paul, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us today! First things first, before we dig into the nitty gritty of Bass Camp, tell us a little about yourself. How did you get your start in the music business, and how did it lead you to where you are today, being the head of a festival, concert promotion company, and record label?
Born and raised in Los Angeles, I’ve always been around the industry. In college, I was part of the Student Council for Entertainment and worked my way through school as a talent buyer for a live entertainment nightclub venue. I worked with promoters to bring headline talent on campus and in the surrounding clubs. I never stopped. It was in my blood.
After school, I moved to Lake Tahoe to work in the Entertainment Department at Caesars Tahoe. I worked my way up to a corporate position, Vice President of Entertainment, and was the company’s primary talent buyer and lead contract negotiator until 2003. My love for Electronic Music dates back to my college days, and when given the opportunity to “freshen up” the Caesars brand, I reached out to Paul Morris at AM Only to book Caesars first ever headliner DJ, Paul Oakenfold. I left the company to start my firm, PR Entertainment, Inc., and continued to produce concerts, tours, and theatrical production shows.
I started producing headline shows around the US and in Northern Nevada with Paul Oakenfold, Tiesto, Porter Robinson, Kaskade, and others in the early 2000s. In 2013, given the rise of electronic music, I created an all-day, 12-hour music festival in Lake Tahoe called “Bass Camp Festival.” Excision, Seven Lions, Adventure Club, The M Machine, and others sold it out in year one. The Bass Camp brand started to resonate with the fans, and we were seeing a lot of social posts, hashtags, and chatter about the fan experience at the inaugural event.
It was then that we realized we were onto something, so we decided to form a new company around the brand, and Bass Camp Festival, Inc was born at the end of 2013. From there, we started to not only produce the annual festival but also promote routed tours with artists all over the region, from club shows to arena shows; we were doing 30-40 shows a year under the Bass Camp brand and continue to this day to bring world-renowned DJ/Producers to the Northern Nevada/California regions.
When putting on a festival, quite a lot goes behind the scenes. What are some of the most challenging aspects of organizing such a large event, and what’s the most rewarding aspect?
The most challenging part of the creation process is to curate the perfect talent lineup. Given our annual July festival dates, we are constantly battling radius clauses from other events. Finding artists that aren’t performing at EDC Las Vegas or other large west coast festivals is always concerning. Still, over the years, we’ve managed to put together lineups for the festival that the fans are always eager to see. The most rewarding part for our entire team is seeing the crowd at the events with all their happy faces on, enjoying the Sierra Nevada surroundings, the significant production elements we bring in, and their reaction when their favorite artists hit the decks.
Bass Camp Festival went through a six-year hiatus, with the fourth edition taking place in 2016 and the fifth edition returning in 2022. How did this time away allow you to refine your vision for Bass Camp and ultimately implement worthwhile changes?
The hiatus was due to several reasons, including the remodel period of the new Hard Rock Lake Tahoe. They couldn’t host with the hotel being shut down for renovations. In 2017 we tried to move the event to a local ski resort and had the event on sale, but then we got word that the ski resort grounds would not be dry enough to support the weight of our production, and it was too late to find an alternative location.
We spent the next two years scouting several locations in the region, but we either had issues with residential neighborhoods or elevations at resorts that were too high, and we wanted to avoid running into the same issues as we had in 2017. During that time, we produced other large-scale events like our popular Bass Camp In The Park outdoor event and the Winter Whiteout event, which is now in its 8th year. Then the pandemic hit, and we couldn’t produce the event in 2020 or 2021, but we kept the brand alive by doing live streams from Lake Tahoe and forming our record label, Bass Camp Music, LLC. As soon as things started reopening, we started working on the festival.
Historically, Bass Camp took place at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Lake Tahoe, but this year, it’s touching down at a new venue in Reno. What makes Wingfield Park the ideal venue to host the festival’s main event?
Wingfield Park is one of the most beautiful and unique locations in which we’ve ever presented shows. The Truckee River flows through the park, dividing into two rivers that have created an island. Access to the park is over two bridges, and once in, you are surrounded by water, gorgeous grass fields, tons of trees for shade, and views of the epic Sierra Nevada mountains. The City of Reno, along with the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority (RSCVA), have been incredible partners, and the support from those agencies has been a very welcoming addition to the location.
Are there any exciting new features this year that you can tell us about?
The most compelling feature is being on the river. Festival goers can dip their feet in to cool down, or depending on the river’s flow at the time of the festival, even take a swim while listening to their favorite set. We will have a large vendor village this year because of the city street closure that separates the two sides of the park. The main stage faces the west side of the park and the main artery of the Truckee River, and the second stage (Bass Station Stage) is on the east side of the park facing the fork of the river that surrounds the island. We will have VIP areas on both sides of the park this year, which include an impressive list of amenities, as well as a large selection of food & beverage options, interactive activations, and lots of activities set up by our sponsors.
In addition to the main event on July 29, a slew of pre and post-parties around Reno are slotted for the nights of the 28-30th. With so many great artists playing simultaneously across all these different shows, what’s your advice for festival-goers navigating set time conflicts and choosing which parties would best suit their taste?
We’ve set the city-wide events by genre, so there shouldn’t be any set time conflicts. For instance, Bass Music fans will enjoy Kompany and Jantsen at Cargo Concert Hall, while House Music fans will dance with Destructo and Benson at Virginia Street Brewhouse. The pre-parties and post-parties on Friday & Sunday are set up in the same way, and each event can be purchased à la carte, or fans can purchase the 3-day All-In Hopper Pass, good for all events city-wide, either General Admission or VIP. All locations, including the daytime pool parties at the J Resort, are within walking distance from the festival grounds and our host hotel, J Resort. The full schedule and set times are available on our website.
Similarly, do you have any tips for how Bass Camp attendees can keep the fun going all weekend without wearing themselves out too early?
Take advantage of our Pool Parties, and relax at the J Resort early in the day. We will have Bass Camp Festival Extra Large beach towels for sale at the main event, so get some of those and stretch out on the lawn overlooking the river. Day trips to North Lake Tahoe are only about 30 minutes away, so taking in the breathtaking scenery of Tahoe is always a safe bet. There is no curfew in Nevada, so the party can continue through the wee hours of the morning, but make sure to hydrate, don’t overindulge, and get lots of rest in between.
Finally, can you give us some of your recommendations for artists to check out at Bass Camp VI?
The Main Stage for deadmau5, Madeon, and Ghastly will be exceptional. The production we are bringing in will wow fans for sure, including fire, sparks, CO2, lasers, etc. I personally love the energy of Kaleena Zanders, who will be performing and singing live on Main State Saturday at 4:30 pm. The Main Festival Afterparty with A-Trak is one I will not miss. Walker & Royce will crush it for the closing party on Sunday night.