Located in the Cascade Siskiyou National Monument, Base Kamp Awesome has been a destination for Punk and Metal bands in the Rogue Valley since 2012. Set in the natural beauty of the Siskiyou woodlands, Base Kamp Awesome is an outdoor venue that provides camping and a place where bands can hang out with musicians after the show. For our Summer Music Guide, this issue we sat down with the co-founder of Base Kamp Awesome, Garrison Mau, about the success of the venue and what happens when nature and metal merge.
Rogue Valley Messenger: How did Base Kamp Awesome first start out?
Garrison Mau: It started with me and one other buddy four years ago. I had gone to an outdoor metal show up north and it was just the coolest thing I had experienced to date and I thought there needs to be way more of this. The bummer is all the venues around here are not guaranteed for bands, but the woods are always going to be there and that’s how we got started. We just like being outside, we liked not having to be in a building where anyone is going to tell us you can’t do this you can’t do that and it just went from there.
The first and second years went so well, we had about a dozen shows and Word of Mouth really gets around quickly, especially with the metal community being so tight knit. After my partner left and move to Texas a couple of years ago I wasn’t even going to keep throwing these shows, but I just kept getting so many people approaching me and asking: ‘hey man we hear you’re the guy to talk to about playing shows at base camp awesome.’ People just have enjoyed the experience so much I couldn’t stop doing it.
RVM: What’s the appeal of having an outdoor venue?
GM: I think it’s the same up here for people who want to move here or want to Vacation here. You look around in any direction and it’s just beautiful. I feel like a lot of people who have been saturated with the beauty kind of take it for granted after a while. But when you get a big group of people together with common interests you can really be reminded holy shit it’s beautiful tonight. I hate to say it’s magical, because magical is a stupid word, but when you get a bunch of like-minded people in a killer spot listening to great music it’s an incredible experience. I try to tell people how gorgeous it is up there but until you go and you really get to experience it for yourself there’s no amount of words I can tell you to make you get it.
RVM: Can you tell me about one of your favorite shows you’ve thrown?
GM: I know a big moment for me was at that first big show we had (in 2013). I remember just staring up at the sky listen to music and being like ‘wow these guys are fucking rock stars,’ and then afterwards the surreal experience of just sitting around a campfire with this guy you’ve been idolizing and realizing he’s just a regular dude. It’s really cool as a musician getting a watch another musician, who is like an idol, just sitting by a campfire roasting some hot dogs having a beer and hanging out. Just breaking that barrier of rock star and musician versus fan. That’s definitely one of my favorite parts of throwing the shows, getting to watch these awesome bands and then getting to hang out with them afterwards. The music is only half of the appeal the get together is the other half.
Published June 9, 2016. The Rogue Valley Messenger