Welcome to your home bass in the mountains.

Photo by E.M. Photography.
Photo by E.M. Photography.

Nestled in the mountains is a magical place, where people go to experience a bit of that magic themselves for a brief weekend in their lives.

Motion Notion is an electronic music festival that has been going for 15 years, 5 locations, and thousands of dance steps. Since its move from Drayton Valley, Alberta to Golden, B.C., it can no longer tout itself as “Alberta’s premier electronic music festival”, but it has already given the events in B.C. a run for their money.

Showcasing world-famous artists, performers, and stages it is a spectacle of lights and sound unlike any other, but the thing that makes MoNo (as it’s affectionately called) different isn’t something that is easily defined.

As a veteran, or “old schooler”, festival goer I have seen and done just about everything. Pounding bass, crazy costumes, excessive indulgence, wacky hijinks, and touching moments between friends new and old. Festivals make my world go round. 10 years and 20 festivals later I still hold Motion Notion dearest in my heart, and it isn’t because of the acts that it books, or the attendees is attracts. It’s the living, breathing, beating heart of the festival that keeps me coming back for more.

Despite its success, and its popularity, Motion Notion remains in the few-thousand attendees category. Big enough to be a massive party, small enough to feel like you matter. You can see the same smiling faces every day in your travels, and you can find that new friend again that you met that other night. You’re welcomed with hugs (and water) when you lose your way and end up in someone else’s camp, and you can rest assured that your own site is safe from vandals and theives as your neighbours are very friendly and will notice something suspicious. Girls can dance without fear because fellow festival goers are respectful, and if they get too grabby the community will set them straight; security rarely has to intervene, it’s the people and the vibe that maintains order here.

Friendly vendors, and affordable food are some of the financial perks to MoNo. The festival charges less for fees, so the businesses can charge less for what they’re selling. A breakfast that costs $15 at another, larger, festival will cost you $5-10 at Motion Notion. A retail vendor will give you the personal attention you deserve as they aren’t overwhelmed by other customers, or shoplifters.

Each stage is set up, and taken down every year: no permanent structures remain, giving the event a feeling of blissfull temporary beauty. You feel like you are part of something fleeting, and special. You feel like you, yourself, are special just by getting to be a part of something so lovely.

Want bass? They got it! With PK Sound beating your eardrums into gleeful submission the sound quality is comparable to larger festivals, but with the dance floor space to really let loose and flail.

First timers at a festival can look forward to the awesome party, without being overwhelmed by the magnitute and facelessness of giant crowds. Don’t worry, the crowds are big, but manageable. You will be surrounded by beautiful dancing people in the thick of the stages, but can escape to catch your breath and take in the night sky just a moment away. You will feel safe, and more open to experiences at a festival like this, as it is has not lost its grassroots charm, nor it’s polished spectacle.

Veterans can catch their breath in a place like Motion Notion. If you’ve been to festivals before, you will certainly appreciate the unique beauty of the location, and the lack of corporate involvement. These people aren’t out to take all your money and leave you sleep deprived and buzzing for the ride home, they’re out to include you in an immersive experience that enriches your soul.

They say there’s no place like home. Well, there’s no place like Motion Notion. Welcome home.


2 thoughts on “Welcome to your home bass in the mountains.”

  1. I really want to come to MoNo with you before I turn 30.

    I haven’t been to many festivals but I TRUST YOUR JUDGEMENT!

    It sounds magical, I like the idea of being close to wilderness and the deep tolerance of the community.


  2. I’ve been to a good number of events in America, and a few in Europe, and twice have been to Motion in the early 2000s when it was held in Alberta. Rather than excel in one thing – in an attempt to make up for several other undesirable (or awful) parts – Motion has this … almost indescribable combination of … perfect. I’ve become a EDM snob because I’ve been to superb events and clearly recognize that it takes a tremendous amount of organization to create a space for enjoyable dis-organization. I have found magic at MN, and have the photos to remember. I may never find out ~how~ the MN combination occurs, but all that matters is that I get to experience it. It can honestly be said, that amongst festivals in Western Canada, MN is exceptional.


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