Vancouver's rising cost of living isn't keeping music-lovers from partying.
Only a few months into 2023, several popular music festivals have announced cancellations, including FVDED, Squamish Constellation Festival, and the now-revived Vancouver Folk Music Festival.
While the music festivals cite a challenging post-COVID festival scene and financial shortcomings as the reasons for their cancellations, local DJ Koji Aiken says that inflation is another significant factor impacting the local music scene.
Aiken observes that "parties and just going out in general is really expensive, and rising prices of groceries, gas, and different basic necessities make it a lot less accessible to people," he tells V.I.A.
The DJ is at the forefront of Vancouver's music scene, continuously expanding and innovating the city's nightlife through his music events company Kumo (picture outdoor foam parties and themed theatre raves).
Now he's embarking on a new undertaking called Uprise Project.
"The goal with this project is to provide a space where people don't have to worry about [money] and can just come enjoy the music," he says.
The community-based initiative is run entirely by volunteers to help push drum and bass music culture forward through free parties. The monthly events will showcase all genres of drum and bass music.
The project's launch party is on April 14 at Levels Nightclub with a second party is taking place May 19 at Fortune Sound Club. Despite the parties happening at night clubs, the events are entirely free.
"The goal is to try and make this as accessible for everyone as possible," says Aiken. The events will operate on an RSVP system so that the venues can keep track of attendees and party-goers are guaranteed entrance. The RSVP is free and is valid for the entire night.
Uprise Project's parties will be different each month and will see "different kinds of venues, different kinds of styles of parties until we find one that fits," explains the DJ, noting that the initiative is currently in an exploration phase.
Yet, the parties are completely dependent on what resources people are willing to donate or volunteer.
"I really hope that this project creates a movement in Vancouver and shows people that there is a scene to be created," says Aiken. "The music industry doesn't always have to be driven by financials. It can be driven by people who have a good heart and a willingness to build it."