MBTS and the Environment

MBTS is committed to environmental sustainability and nowhere can the importance of environmental sustainability be more readily apparent than in a location such as Bamfield. Combining Marine Sciences with Music is the catalyst for this realization to take root. Concert-goers, audiences, scientists and marine biology students alike will mingle in this interdisciplinary environment. The ocean is our most important resource for studying the environment and much of life itself. Nowhere does one become more inspired in the environmental sustainability cause than one does in an educational setting with the purpose of studying nature in studies such as the ocean sciences.

There are many Music Schools and Festivals which will aspire to the same role as MBTS—a world-class retreat/think-tank/tourist-destination festival and school. Indeed, tourist-destination audience development is a key part of strategic planning for many performing-arts organizations. There are many ways in which MBTS, however, is clearly situated in the right location for this vision to develop, but with the added value of promoting environmental sustainability.

The environment is the key. In order for this sort of vision to be successful, the location itself must be of such pristine and almost mythic natural beauty, that the draw for both artists and audiences alike takes on a legendary role in being the catalyst for inspiration for the artists and audiences. The synthesis of the environment and the music thus creates a potent focus of the Muse. The word “music” itself is derivative from “muse”. Also part of the requirement is for this natural setting to be uncluttered by the rush and racket of the modern urban world. One cannot be in the same state that one would be in while staying at Pacheena Bay for a week before going into a concert, if one is rushing down Robson Street to get to a parking spot before a concert. This is true for performers and audience.

The recognition that this is true, combined with the realization that the environment must be preserved, brings a heightened environmental awareness to our audiences and performers. It does not even have to be stated. It is clear to any attendee to a Music by the Sea Concert, that their experience is as much a musical one as it is a celebration of the environment right outside the glass.

When audience members said to us in our inaugural season: “Why do we have to come all the way to Vancouver Island for a concert better than anything we have ever been to in Vancouver?” They are not saying that the actual performance itself was necessarily “better” than one at the Chan Centre or by any other performer. What they are really saying, is that the combination of environment, music, and diversity gave them a “musical” experience unlike any they have had before. And an equal part of that “muse” that informed their experience was the environment itself. Because the Rix Centre for Ocean Science Discovery offers a three-story-high wall of glass behind the stage, it places the musical performances right “inside” the environment. Nowhere else in the Pacific Northwest is there a venue of such stunning intimacy with the Pacific Ocean itself and with such perfect acoustics.balcony_2429

This photo of the audience on the balcony of the Rix Centre at sunset, clearly illustrates this relationship of audience and the environment, and the role that the Rix Centre plays in bringing these two together.

Future plans include co-involvement of environmental organizations because the synthesis of Ocean Sciences and the Arts is a powerful platform on which to raise awareness for the need of environmental sustainability and MBTS places this value at the core of its choice of Bamfield for this vision to unfold.