The 2016 Bella Coola Music Festival enjoyed its 17th year last weekend and the community came out to welcome the musicians (and a little sunshine) for three days of amazing music.
The Festival is run entirely by volunteers and getting dozens of artists and their equipment into a remote location such as Bella Coola is no easy feat. A total of sixteen separate acts played the Festival last weekend and included names such as Jill and Matthew Barber, Murray Porter and Amelia Curran.
The evening kicked off at the Hagensborg Legion with a performance by two talented groups from Winnipeg, Manitoba: Carly Dow and the Crooked Brothers.
Saturday was overcast but the rain held off to make the event relatively dry and dancers enjoyed the wide range of musical talent, beginning in the morning with two workshops: Jocelyn Pettit with Joshua Hyslop and Scarlett Jane and Carly Dow.
The main stage featured a total of 11 acts each day for an incredible 22 performances over the weekend. The Nuxalk Welcome officially opened the Saturday evening portion and the night was a great buildup starting with Mohawk bluesman Murray Porter and continuing with hard rock/country frontman Ben Rogers and the Bloodred Yonder.
Senegalese musician Elage Diouf was an incredible performer to watch and he got the crowd right involved with his amazing energy, followed by Quique Escamilla and finally the antics of rock n’roll band Bend Sinister.
Sunday started with a great performance by the Valley Fiddlers and young dancers who were taught some French Canadian culture by the talented duo known as Scarlett Jane. After just two days of practice 10 dancers took the stage performing the traditional French song La Bastringue.
The performance was followed by the Valley Fiddlers performing another French Canadian tune with Jocelyn Pettit and her family band.
The afternoon continued with more workshops including a great set by the Crooked Brothers and Ben Rogers, as well as collaboration by Elage Diouf and Quique Escamilla.
Nuxalk and Valley elders were treated to a private performance inside Lobelco Hall by Murray Porter, who performed for them in an intimate setting that included traditional protocol and a catered lunch featuring some traditional Nuxalk food.
The Children’s Site was busy with roving characters, face painting, crafts and performances by the incredibly talented Magical Jesaja from the Nemiah Valley. Sunday afternoon was MC’d by the Valley’s own Jake Currie, who did a great job. Nuxalk Radio was onsite once again broadcasting live on the radio and online, and it was great to hear the music flowing throughout the entire Valley.
Sunday saw performances by Nick Sherman, Scarlett Jane, the Crooked Brothers, Jill Barber and Matthew Barber as well as the very high-energy High Society from Vancouver.
As always these events couldn’t happen without the dedication and tireless energy of all of the volunteers and the Board of Directors of the Bella Coola Music Festival. A big thank you to these folks who keep these events going year after year and are so committed to our community. You are very appreciated!