Gillbilly Festival celebrates fishing and music

Over the weekend of Sept. 30 to Oct. 2, the first annual Gillbilly Festival will be hosted in Fernie.

Over the weekend of Sept. 30 to Oct. 2, the first annual Gillbilly Festival will be hosted in Fernie. The festival will combine bluegrass music with fly fishing for a weekend of workshops, performances, and fishing.

Michael Hepher, a board member on the Old Type Music Society, says the idea came from noticing a trend: most musicians he met love to fish.

“We realized that over time, a lot of the musicians that we are contacting were happy to come to Fernie partly because of the Elk River. Chris Coule who is one of the performers, said he would come here to fish regardless,” he told The Free Press. “As we looked at it, we realized that a lot of the players fished as well. Well maybe there is something about fly-fishing and blue grass and old time music that appeals to a certain type of person, whether it is the authenticity or the earthy nature of it, or the non-rockus nature. But they both seem to go hand-in-hand.”

Hepher admits he is not a fisherman himself, and says the festival will include other activities, such as hiking and music workshops.

“Ultimately, there is not really a lot of similarity between those two things, but this is a good place to do both of them,” he said. “If people aren’t into fishing, they can just as easily bring a bike. We are going to organize some hikes, someone to take a group up around Island Lake, and someone to take some bikes on the local trails.”

The festival starts at 5 p.m. on Sept. 30 with a wine and cheese welcoming reception at the Arts Station, followed by a concert from Ben Winship and Eli West and a jam session. The Saturday will feature workshops on both music and fishing in the morning, with some free time in the afternoon for people to fish on the Elk River, among other activities. Chris Coole will be performing at the Arts Station that evening and to cap off the festival, there will be a Toast and Jam event Sunday morning, featuring breakfast and music at different cafés.

Event organizers are hoping to sell 30 tickets for the full festival. There will be the opportunity to purchase tickets for the concerts only as well.

“We are considering 60 full. If we get 30, that will be a good start. And then next year, hopefully either the word will get out or people will go home and say this is a really fun weekend,” said Hepher.

According to Hepher, the idea for the festival has been well received by the public thus far, fishing aficionados and otherwise.

“Everyone seems to think it is a really neat idea,” he said. “But really it is about the music. We are offering non-fishing and fishing related workships and giving people opportunities to do things that aren’t fishing. We are trying to structure it as a laid back weekend of music with opportunities.”

Just Posted

Crowsnest Pass RCMP seek help locating missing man

58-year-old Stuart David Duff was last seen on Jan. 6, 2019.

Spike in Jaffray bear calls cause for concern

In 2018 there were 38 calls about bears spotted in the Jaffray area, compared to one call in 2017.

Snow on the way for Elk Valley

Winter weather advisory issued for East Kootenay with up to 15cm of snow expected over the next week

Snow removal still an issue for mobility challenged in Fernie

Disability advocate sees little improvement in sidewalk clearing; City promises to review policy

Sparwood trails community growing

Sparwood Trails Alliance grows trail network, membership; hosting fatbike event February 2

VIDEO: U.S. Congress to probe whether Trump told lawyer Cohen to lie

At issue is a BuzzFeed News report that about negotiations over a Moscow real estate project

Explosion sends B.C. firefighter to hospital

Kelowna fire crews responded to a blaze at Pope’sGallery of BC Art & Photography on Friday

Ex-Mountie investigating ‘Surrey six’ murders pleads guilty to obstruction

Derek Brassington entered his plea in B.C. Supreme Court on Friday

Rare ‘super blood wolf moon’ takes to the skies this Sunday

Celestial event happens only three times this century

Arrest made after historic B.C. church hit by arson

The fire at the 150-year-old Murray United Church in Merritt was considered a possible hate crime

B.C. dangerous offender in court for violating no-contact order, sends letter to victim

Wayne Belleville was shocked to see a letter addressed to him from his shooter, Ronald Teneycke

Man blames his loud car radio, sirens for crash with B.C. ambulance

Tribunal rejects bid to recoup ICBC costs after crash deemed 100-per-cent his fault

RECALL: Salmon Village maple salmon nuggets

Customers warned not to eat product due to possible Listeria contamination

Most Read