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‘We are making it work in any way that we can’: Bella Coola Music Festival kicks off Saturday

Highway access to the valley has been cut off due to wildfires, but reopened Thursday with pilot car
The Bella Coola Music Festival will kick off Saturday morning, July 17. (Michael Wigle file photo)

The Bella Coola Music Festival is going forward this weekend (July 17 and 18).

The music festival, which was cancelled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is set to kick off Saturday, despite access being blocked earlier this week due to wildfires in the Chilcotin.

Read More: VIDEO: Fire and ash greet travellers, Highway 20 reopens between Tatla and Anahim Lake

“Yes, the fires have impacted us but we are making it work in any way that we can,” said Rose Clark, artistic/executive director of the Bella Coola Music Festival.

“Artists and crew have been patiently waiting to hear about the conditions on Highway 20 - packed up and ready to go on the other side. Yesterday evening we received confirmation about the road being open west of Anahim Lake) from 3 a.m. - 11 a.m., and artists and crew are doing their very best to get through.”

Clark said Blackberry Wood re-routed and hopped on the ferry from Port Hardy to Bella Coola.

“The music festival board and volunteers are working as hard as possible to keep the momentum going, despite the uncertainties … We find ourselves in a familiar position, determined to keep the festival spirit alive. Our hearts go out to our neighbours who have been evacuated from their homes and suffered loss at the hands of these wildfires. We are incredibly grateful to all the firefighters and highway crews working hard to protect our roads and communities. The festival is set to go off tomorrow in any capacity we can manage.”

The first performance starts Saturday at 11 a.m. with the last performance begins at 9:45 p.m and again on Sunday.

Tickets will be available at the gate, cash only. The cost is $25 per day for adults, seniors and students pay $20 and children 12 and under are free.

For those unable to join them in person, the Bella Coola Music Festival is available to listen live on 91.1 FM Nuxalk Radio and via a live video stream on the Festival website at

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Angie Mindus

About the Author: Angie Mindus

A desire to travel led me to a full-time photographer position at the Williams Lake Tribune in B.C.’s interior.
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