All photos by T. Hynd
Music fans whooped it up at the Wapiti Music Festival as the lanterns lit Annex Park. Musicians stole the show with great acoustics from all the indie bands that graced the stage on the weekend of August 9 and 10.
While the white tent tops marked the popular beverage gardens, Inlet Sound opened the show Friday evening.
Alya Ramandan, from CBC Radio Daybreak was the festival emcee and has been known to throw discs to the crowd in between sets. “People are working really well together at Wapiti to put on a great show. You see kids dancing and playing and their grandparents dancing with them. Wapiti has got people who really know how to curate a festival.”
With locals Shred Kelly taking the stage Friday night, dancing shoes and bare feet filled the grass dance floor. Current Swell bellowed any blues away with a slide guitar and harmonica energizing the crowd, doing their name justice. Their ballad ‘Brad’s Song’ brought out the peace of the pink sunset night and lighters in the crowd as the four musicians sang a tribute to their dear departed friend they will always miss.
The festivities continued on Saturday with tambourines constructed at the kids’ tent, yummy food vendors were sizzling and the bike check was well utilized. Kids under 12 and seniors really did get in for free.
A festival the size of Wapiti does not happen by accident. Organizers have already met once this week to start planning for Wapiti 2014, which will be August 8 and 9. “We’ve had tremendous support from the city council and citizens with tons of volunteer support. We’re very pleased with the accommodators support,” said Kevin McIssac, festival organizer. “I think we can hold our head high, as we’re comparable in venue and site to other festivals. I’m a big believer in good sound and good bands. I’m really pleased with the festival. Being year three, we’ve got most of the bugs worked out even if I do see room for improvement. The most important focus is on families and that everybody in the community can come to the festival.”
“The layout is more condensed this year. After the flood, there were eight inches of river silt covering the entire festival area so it all needed reseeding,” said volunteer Matt Brazeau.
Music continued Saturday with Cranbrook band The Good Ol Goats as the first of nine performances.
Plants and Animals and Delhi 2 Dublin were the big bands on Saturday night. They were fabulous!
Plants and Animals drummer Matthew Woodley was excited to be in Fernie from Montreal. “This festival is the high echelon of beauty when the majority of touring is in bars. Being able to go for a swim and jump off a cliff is refreshing in all sense of the word. It’s a nice change playing for a more family orientated crowd versus the typical 18 to 35 year old demographic.”
Fifteen hundred locals and visitors brought their groovy dancing moves, smiling attitudes as they took in the quality performances by the riverside. This festival truly was music for your ears.