What probably struck you most at the AIM festival last year was the surprisingly refreshing and rare synergy of quality people, recherché music and grandiose deployment. Nothing of this serendipitous combination was left to chance, as we were told by event promoter and seasoned scene fixture François Lebaron:
“Although the musical aspect comes first and foremost for the AIM festival producers”, quips the promoter, “the scenic deployment is also part of the signature, the brand. It gives it strength, meaning. It brings a different experience.”
Lebaron has been an influential figure on the local scene since the mid nineties. He’s taken varied roles as an artist, promoter, booker, and record label owner.
It’s therefore no surprise that the impetus to create an event of a different nature should stem from the observations of a seasoned veteran: “We observed a basic lack of depth in the experience of contemporary techno festivals.” AIM producers vowed to fill this hole in the market by putting together an offering that would break free of standards and expectations, both musically and environmentally.
“Visually speaking, we wanted to exploit the environment to its maximum immersive potential. Our cogitations may have led us to an original albeit expensive setup, the results were beyond our expectations.”
When asked if today’s events relied too heavily on the visual and technical aspects to divert the participants’ attention from the essence, Lebaron is affirmative:
“Yes, the immersive aspect does bring something. We have access to tools today that can indeed augment the experience, but the real difference comes from who’s in charge, aka the programmer. It’s the mind behind the machines that creates the difference. One remembers an event in flashbacks [sic], and the quality of those flashbacks, how we live the experience, that’s up to the programmer’s choice of interventions.” Judging from last year’s profound show of visuals, LED screens and interactive lighting, that’s a creative resource AIM’s producers do not seem short of.
Therefore, the natural question at that point becomes: after pushing the bar so high last year, what can be expected from next weekend’s display of ingenuity? We were told that there was no pressure there. Instead of higher and bigger, we should expect different: closer to people, more human, essential. Parc Carillon’s vast terrain poses a challenge when it comes to bringing the crowd together, and that’s this year’s impulse. So we can expect both LED screens and hand crafted decors to create lower scenery and make us feel more tightly knitted together. In Lebaron’s own words: “a more organic experience.”
In closing, we asked if there were three letters beside AIM that could exemplify what’s ahead of us and give us a sampler feeling. The answer was: Experience, Community, and Festive.
We’ll be seeing you there.