By Meghan Roberts
The success of Olio’s inaugural year ensured a comeback this fall. Last year’s Music Waste vibe was revamped to include international acts, bigger venues, and a heftier price tag. But with the price came the coveted wristband that let you into any of the shows in spaces across the city ranging from tiny lofts in Chinatown to established concert venues like the Media Club. There were also a number of free art shows for those on a budget. So was it worth the price?

Gavin McInnes had the packed crowd roaring at the Biltmore on Friday night. Sharp, quick wit paired with an off-beat slideshow ensured the audience always had something to focus on. Those of us in the front row were kept on our toes lest he decide to have a little fun at our expense. Vancouver favourites MT-40 were also on hand to keep the audience dancing and full of energy.

Things I learned from local film No Fun City: It is near impossible to open a live music venue in Vancouver. Also, you need an audience participation permit to allow patrons to dance. For real. Apparently dancing = raves. An important documentary on the trials and tribulations of artists and entrepreneurs in Vancouver’s above and under ground music scene, No Fun City is sobering and inspiring. It’s a must-see and I was glad it was appropriately part of the Olio program.

For the grand finale, Olio snagged legendary Vancouver artist, Bob Masse. A pioneer of psychedelic art in the 60s, Masse rose to fame with his art-nouveau inspired rock posters for artists like the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, and Jimi Hendrix. The W2 Storyeum featured a number of original prints for sale, as well as some classics at an affordable $25. The master himself was there to speak, answer questions, and sign posters.

There really was something for everyone at Olio this year. You could party all weekend at big names like The Very Best or Chad VanGaalen, or quietly introduce yourself to the local art scene through gallery shows and local films. The established success of the festival last year allowed the founders to get some big sponsors and make some big changes. The result was a much farther reaching product that became the talk of the town.