Get to Know The People of Tall Tree: Chris Welham and Marksy

Hello, and welcome to the second addition of GTKTPOTT a.k.a. Get to know the people of Tall Tree.  We like acronym’s…but that’s a story for another time.  Today we feature Chris Welham, Operations Director and Marksy, Planning Director for Tall Tree Music Festival.

Chris Welham (Operations Director), how did you get involved with Tall Tree?

Chris – I guess the short of it is, boys being boys. We would have these creative ideas meetings out in Port Renfrew while we were renovating our place, Big Fish Lodge.  The idea of a summer music festival was always in the radar stemming from our winter festival Song&Surf.  We walked the property that we had in mind, and it was perfect. We were able to secure the property and Tall Tree 1 was born. Today on a different site, my involvement mainly revolves around site prep, layout, design and infrastructure, and the logistics involved with keeping 1000 people safe on the side of a mountain with no running water or power. Every year we learn more.

What has kept you motivated to put so much of your time into this festival?  What brings you back?

Chris – It’s all about the people. Every year our team grows. We have people calling, emailing and showing up in Renfrew that I’ve never met and they want to make this festival a success.  That is huge motivation for me.  Also the property, I think it is one of the most beautiful pieces of land I have ever been on.  In my eyes it was mistreated when it was logged and I think it deserves better.  To me it is a 325 acre empty canvas, and with incredible sponsors’ like Richlock Rentals we are able to let our creative juices flow.  That’s what brings me back.

What site features are you most excited about?

Chris – The site has had lots of energy and time put in to in by great people that have volunteered and become of the TT family.  A vision to improve the site by defining boarders and livening the site with colour has the TT beautification crew busy with putting love into the mountain. Also the chainsaw carving duo of Vez(Matt Vezina) and Dez(Dez Hatchard) is unreal. Everything from a horse bench to fun little mushrooms. Pretty exciting stuff.

If Mike Hann were a mythical creature he would be a ………..?

Chris – Haha Mike would be Luckdragon, Falcor the Luckdragon.

Could you share a little known fact about Tall Tree that people would find interesting?

Chris – It’s a little known fact love is found at Tall Tree. We have had countless stories about boys and girls meeting at the festival and falling in love. This year the first Tall Tree baby was born by a couple that met in 2011.  So if your single and looking for love you just might be coming to the right place. Ooooh yaaa.

If you could be a tree, what kind would you be and why?

Chris – Ooh this is a tough one, I would have to say I would the Red Creek Fir. There is something pretty magical about being 1000 years old and the world’s largest Douglas Fir tree, and it stands right in our back yard, it amazes me that more people don’t know about it. I highly recommend going for a visit

Marksy (Planning Director), I heard that you had a fairly big life changing experience at your first Tall Tree.  Can you shed some light on this epiphany?

Marksy – Oh yes it surely did change my life and I am not the only person who has found their mission, themselves, their significant other, true friends or their love of hummingbirds at Tall Tree. Something special happens on Browns Mountain. I flew to the Yukon from Ontario where I was living at the time (I am a complete gypsy at heart), to meet a lifelong friend and travel to Tall Tree 2011. Our other first mate was going to help his buddies with site preparation and we signed up to volunteer. I had no clue what was about to go down. I had already built such a strong understanding and true appreciation of how special Port Renfrew and Tall Tree were before the event even started.

Here was this co-operating group of like-minded people that were willing to make the personal sacrifices needed to make a difference. This seemed right into the direction I was seeking personally. I really started feeling that I could contribute to the group using some of my own life experiences. Before the Quoia set was done Saturday night, I was all in. I knew this was what I was supposed to do. If  life has taught me anything so far it is that time is oh so precious, we never know what can happen tomorrow, so best stay true, do our do`s and enjoy the moment.

What is you involvement in Tall Tree?

Marksy – I’m kinda everywhere, yet nowhere at the same time I would say. I just try to do everything I can to make sure that this festival is sustainable and that other like-minded individuals have an opportunity to contribute.

How does it feel to literally create the festival with a close group of friends, some saws, a mill and your hands?

Marksy – I feel very, very fortunate and honored to work beside every person involved. I have always played team sports and this is a very similar experience. It takes the same ingredients for success.

 If you were a animal you would be a ………

Marksy – an elk; because other than the Tall Tree festival goers they get to spend the most time up on Browns Mountain. I love being up there.

Why did the chicken cross the road?

Marksy – He thought the grass was greener on the other side because he didn’t realize all the good stuff he already had was right in front of him.

Top three things you are looking forward to this year at Tall Tree?

 Marksy:

  1. The Music: This year’s line-up is incredible; I suggest getting to know the line-up for sure. The more I listen to our Tall Tree play-list the more pumped up I get.   Add in P.K Sound and our dear friend Gordon Blunt`s visuals, WoWsers. Going to a whole new level on Browns Mountain this year!
  2. I am super stoked to see our returning Tall Tree-ers and see their reactions to all the improvements on site. The team’s been working very hard with enhancements abundant.
  3. I love watching people have fun. I sit back very often and take in my surroundings.  Enjoy the enjoyment and smile at the      smiles I guess. Try to take it all in.

Why should people attend Tall Tree?

Marksy – Truly, people would have to experience it to understand why. Celebrating artistic freedoms and expressions in a mountain top setting is unexplainable.

If you were a tree, what kind would you be and why?

Marksy –  Hmmmm, I would be a bonsai tree – maybe the little one on Fairy Lake in Port Renfrew.  They are slight in size, yet stand strong and stay grounded.

Emmalee Brunt is a freelance music writer living in Victoria B.C. She is the co-founder and writer for Betty and Kora and is the official Tall Tree Festival correspondent, writer and content creator for www.talltreemusic.com  .

You can read Emmalee’s posts here on Tall Tree Music and on Betty and Kora at http://www.bettyandkora.com 

Happy Festing!