After four years as one of Vancouver’s more colourful and certainly hipper cultural events, Olio is calling it quits.
The festival—which uniquely blended music, art, skate, film, comedy, fashion and an array of special presentations in a number of venues—enjoyed its biggest year in 2012. And that, as co-director Jason Sulyma told the Straight, became a bit of a problem.
“It’s kinda like a passion project for us, and we’re all just getting ridiculously busy in our private lives,” Sulyma said. “It’s been nearly half a decade since we started this and people are getting married and moving on, and some people have so much paid work, and being that we all volunteer our time to do this—we just thought, let’s go out on a high note instead of caving in and crying later.”
Sulyma added that Color Magazine is still holding JAMCOUVER this summer, the one-day skate fest it pioneered with Olio in 2011, while he’s teaming with some of his festival partners to launch a smaller “no-filler version of Olio” later in the year called CULt.R. “It’ll be more focused,” he said. “Not skate-fashion-film at a thousand different venues; it’s going to be one party at one venue.”
Co-founder Dani Vachon, meanwhile, is concentrating on her new project; a group of "talented marketing, design, and arts-based individuals" offering their navigation services to local businesses called The Beacon Collective.
Since its inception in August 2009, the Olio Festival hosted over 30 thousand visitors and a remarkable roster of local and international talent, including such varied musical fare as Teen Daze, Cave Singers, Father John Misty, Chad VanGaalen and J. Mascis.
Memorable non-musical events included the Manwolfs Jean Jacket Art Exhibit, and a rock star-sized welcome for writer-director Tommy Wiseau when Olio invited him to screen his film, The Room. That's not to mention events like a live presentation of Stop Podcasting Yourself, label showcases for Light Organ and Unfamiliar Records, plus “the honour of hosting a comedic ‘roast’ of Mayor Gregor Robertson!”
For Sulyma, the biggest personal highlight came last year. “Julie Doiron,” he said. “As a ‘90s kid, I got to have Julie Doiron in my truck, which was really cool, even though the lights went out and it was the most disastrous show in the history of Olio. But I got a hug. It was worth four or five years of incredibly hard and stressful work to get a Julie Doiron hug.”