After 34 years, the Midsummer Music Festival still continues to bring an incredible range of local and international talent that will have all who attend wondering how it was possible to improve upon an already great formula.
The festival is sponsored by the Bulkley Valley Folk Music Society and will be held this Friday to Sunday at the BV Exposition Grounds.
Festival co-coordinator Christopher Blois, who is sharing his extensive duties with Sarah Zantingh, claims that there really are not any big changes in this year’s line-up, but the little changes that are being offered will broaden the range of musical delights on offer.
The range of music is extensive and Blois feels that BV Folk Music Society is a nourishing body for the musical soul of northwestern B.C. He feels that there will be better continuity and that will help provide better overall experience. There is a diverse and eclectic range of music this year that will excite and entertain.
A look at the playbill is more than enticing and exciting. There are acts with a local taste such as The MIP Power Trio featuring Marie Perry, daughter of local stand out Mark Perry.
There is Entengados, a seven piece band from Argentina that dresses up like clowns and perform a wide variety of genres from rock to reggae in an energetic fiesta of dance, humour and happiness.
There are the Yellowknife Throat Singers who perform traditional songs together to bridge the gap between east and west, past and present.
There is Miss White Spider, a one-woman light and shadow theater experience of visuals, puppets, music, and voice as she creates one-of-a-kind performances that show traditional teachings with a modern day flare.
It would be easy to go on with other acts on the program.
“We continue to improve upon the caliber of music that we offer and get acts from all over the province. In past we’ve tended to focus on perhaps one kind of music in the festival but this year we will have a very broad range,” said Blois.
“We have a lot of featured talent this year. Most is from B.C. but we also have some international performers such as Plastik from Germany.”
Blois said that the basic mandate of the festival was to promote a greater appreciation of music. This can be accomplished by providing opportunities for musicians to play, for residents of the Bulkley Valley to hear a wide range of music and to promote the development of music.
“We’re celebrating the fact that everyone enjoys music and that’s what can really bring people together,” he said.
Blois was particularly proud of the fact that the festival has been run by volunteers for each of it’s 34 years.
“We get over 200 volunteers. People sign up all the way up to the performances and they do everything from writing for grants to setting up the grounds to taking care of the recycling,” he said.
Some popular highlights from the past will be available again this year. For example, there will be jam sessions and an open mic stage where anyone can go up and play.
Blois is excited about ticket sales to date.
“Our ticket sales to date are up over double what we had last year,” he said.
“It’s an amazing line-up this year and people are starting to realize that we’ve become a family positive festival. Smithers has a lot of young families and we’re encouraging the kids to come out. For example, we have a clown coming and we have a magic show, puppets, a kids campfire and so on,” he said.