From it’s beginnings in 1983, the Midsummer Music Festival has always been about providing local and regional artists the opportunity to showcase their talents.
It all began with Marion Rose, who approached the Bulkley Valley Music Society with her idea for the music festival.
The vision was simple, George Stokes, who was on the BVMS board when Rose shared her vision.
“It was an all encompassing celebration of music,” Stokes said.
The first years were like private gatherings, with organizers taking turns on stage to entertain, often to a crowd of other organizers.
But the enthusiasm was contagious, Stokes said.
“It took on a life of its own.”
Despite a few hiccups, the festival and the festival organization have matured and people now attend the festival for the love of music, Stokes said.
This year’s edition, June 29 – July 1, promises to continue the tradition of outstanding and eclectic music.
Several top-notch artists are going to hit one of the festivals four stages, including Good for Grapes, the Juno nominated Little Miss Higgins and the popular children’s entertainers The Kerplunks.
Local and regional entertainers are also schedule to play the three-day music festival, including the likes of the Swamp Donkeys, The Racket, The Valley Youth Fiddlers, Shauna Hunter McLean, Chicken Creek and the Mudcats to name just a few.
It is the breadth and variety of music from the region that Scott Taylor, responsible for finding the artists, enjoys most about the music festival.
“I am always able to find something unique and surprising and I often enjoy most the performances I would have never expected,” Taylor, who first got involved with the festival as a volunteer and performer said.
The festival, from June 29 – July 1, also features workshops, including the gospel music workshop and plenty to do for the younger set, explained Cynthia Rondeau, public relations spokesperson for the Midsummer Music festival, said.
“There’s so much for kids,” Rondeau said.
There will be a music stage for children, as well as a play area and activities such as a bike rodeo, face painting and so much more.
The highlight for the children and probably some parents too, will be when the world-renowned Kerplunks take the stage.
The weekend features a family day and special family day passes, which Rondeau hopes will give families some flexibility in attending the festival.
In her first year with the festival, Rondeau volunteered her time with the festival because she loves music and meeting new people.
“I’ve met the most wonderful people and real music-minded fun people,” she said.
“I’ve learned a lot about Smithers in a very short time.”
Volunteering has its benefits, Rondeau explained.
“I just absolutely love music, that’s why I’m volunteering for the festival.”
“Music is really really important to me.”
The festival can get hectic and organizers have planned a special area, the Bliss Zone, to help parents soothe their souls. The Blizz zone has hammocks for a lazy afternoon nap, meditation, tai chi and other remedies.
As with many endeavours, the success of the festival is due entirely to a strong corps of volunteers.
“The festival has always been volunteer powered and every year the work that we do keeps it alive,” Rondeau said.
“It’s a real grass roots event.”
Although the festival organizers have everything in hand leading up to the festival weekend, Rondeau said they still need volunteers on site, especially in the area of hosting, environment, at the entrance gate and the kid’s zone.
There are benefits to volunteering, Rondeau explained. A day pass is available for four hours of volunteering and 12 hours of volunteering comes with a weekend pass. Volunteers chipping in 24 hours of their time receive a weekend pass and meals in the hospitality zone.
Prospective volunteers can visit the Midsummer Music Festival website for information and an application form.
For safety reasons the festival is glass free, Rondeau explained, but the organizers are ready to accept the gamut of recyclable materials festival-goers might bring with them.
Onsite camping is available, with a quiet area and a not-so-quiet area for campers wanting to enjoy the music just a bit more. The campgrounds open at 3 p.m. Friday, June 29.
Weekend passes and day passes are available at Mountain Eagle Books and Speedee Interior Stationary.