Organizers of the Bella Coola Music Festival are pleased to be able to offer both an in-person and live-stream version of the festival this July 15, 16 and 17.
The festival will also be even more family focused, said Kristen Anne Boulier, president of the Bella Coola Valley Music Festival Society.
“In the past there’s been a Friday night kick-off that is usually at the Legion and it’s an adult-only event however this year we are very excited to be bringing back the Friday night event but on the fall fair grounds where the festival happens and it will be for all ages.”
Last year the festival occurred and was one of the few in B.C. in the summer time to go ahead, although Boulier recalled it was “down to the wire” as to whether they would be able to proceed because of COVID-19 restrictions.
“At the very last minute the health orders lifted and we were able to have our in-person festival.”
However, organizers had been planning a live-stream – just in case. It was always intended for artists to come and perform on the stage and have the sound crew and continue with the show, just not have an in-person audience.
“We were able to do both in the end and the live-stream was such a great success that we decided we want to do that this year as well and potentially on into the future,” she said.
The live-stream is totally free so anyone can join and Boulier added it works out well for the artists who have friends and family back home who would like to watch or if there are elderly people who cannot access the festival in person.
Boulier has been volunteering with the festival since she moved to Bella Coola five years ago, but only joined the board last year and became president this year.
“We have a phenomenal board. There are six people on the board who work very hard year round to manage and organize the non-profit that produces the festival.”
There is also an employee who is the artistic/executive director – Rose Clark – who Boulier said is “truly responsible”for all the creative aspects of the festival as far as artist line-ups and other aspects go. Clark was the one who thought of doing a live stream and she made it happen by pursuing grants, hiring and training a team.
Every year about 200 volunteers help with the festival and Boulier said the festival would not happen without them.
Both Saturday and Sunday at the festival will have a site for children. Last year the children did music-oriented crafts.
The festival is alcohol-free, aims to be environmentally-friendly, inclusive of First Nations artists and youth friendly. Some paid job opportunities at the festival will be posted in the near future, Boulier confirmed.
Bella Coola Music Festival first started in 1998 and has happened every year with the exception of two – one because of fires and the other because of COVID-19.
Early bird tickets are now on sale until June 15.
Some of the lineup has been announced which includes Les Deuxluxes, Cousin Harley, Mattmac, Leila Neverland, Geo Ignace, The Vaudevillian and Kentucky Eileen.