Perfect weather, amazing musical acts and a family friendly venue was the perfect combination for world-class entertainment at the Sixth Annual Grassy Plains Music Festival held last weekend at the picturesque Grassy Plains Hall grounds. To any folks who missed it…this is an absolute jewel in the annual calendar of events in the Lakes District.
The Friday night dance kicked off the festivities with local artist Johnnie Pahl heading a rafter rocking band covering Neil Young to Johnny Cash and everything in between. Like old time community hall dances, people kicked up their heels, swung their partners and rocked into the night.
Saturday morning rolled out a lineup of top touring bands and performers including the bluegrass perfection of Five On A String from White Rock, the haunting and universally popular Crooked Brothers over from Winnipeg, the mesmerizing First Nation singer songwriter Kym Gouchie of Prince George, an ever popular toe tapping local band The Barkers, world class folk fusion from the musical masters of Wheat In The Barley, Decker Lakes own Johnnie Pahl and Tania Cunningham, the soft, sultry and soulful musical allure of Carly Dow from the hills of Manitoba, and one of the coolest, funkiest, hottest bands in B.C., Black Spruce Bog from Prince George.
The music just kept coming and coming and it was almost overwhelming to have such a large program of unending talent perform on a beautiful outdoor stage projecting magnificent and pleasing sound.
Saturday’s bill also featured a remarkable performance from 30 young Ootsa Lake Bible Camp Choir singers from all across the interior who practised all week for their debut directed by Andrea Michalzik, originally from Hamburg Germany and accompanied by Alain Vitelo Campos, a native of Peru, both residents of the Southside.
Sunday repeated the perfection of the day before, with whole new sets. The captured audience was once again wowed from with a level of music and entertainment never seen on such a scale in Grassy Plains, or for that matter, in the Lakes District ever. Just to think, these renowned acts like the Crooked Brothers, Wheat In The Barley, Carly Dow, Five On A String and Black Spruce Bog had just left venues attended by thousands of people, chose to include Grassy Plains in their tour and are now scheduled to perform at the Calgary Folk Festival, Kispiox Music Festival, Edge of the Earth in Haida Gwaii and Europe and beyond. Hard work from the volunteers have confirmed that the Grassy Plains Music Festival is on the map.
Matt Foster of the Winnipeg based Crooked Brothers said, “This venue is heavenly. Such a beautiful setting, great sound and wonderful people. We want to come back.”
“I love this area and will stay over an extra day to relax and look around the countryside,” said Carly Dow, a recording artist from Manitoba. “Many festivals can be noisy and high stress, but Grassy Plains…wow…I love the relaxed atmosphere and being able taking time to hear the other acts…just plain fun.”
Kym Gouchie said, “I feel part of me is here. This has been overwhelming. What a beautiful place in the world.”
There were also musical workshops hosted by Five On A String musicians, in guitar, banjo, fiddle and mandolin.
The event had everything – immaculate grounds, great food, open viewing areas, a play area for kids including a huge air castle and free horseback rides, a variety of vendors offering local wares and arts and crafts, and just a plain, downhome, wholesome and family friendly atmosphere. There is also huge lawn areas for comfortable camping and RV parking.
If you missed it this year, don’t you dare miss it next year. Mark your calendars for July 2016. An awesome and memorable event in our own unforgettable backyard.