The eighth annual Bushstock Music Festival takes place this weekend at the Bear Paw Campground in Arras. The music starts at 7 p.m. on Friday and continues until midnight, and then picks up again the next day from 12 p.m. to 1 a.m.
"Friday is more of our heavy metal night," said Jeremy Linklater, who has been organizing the festival for the last seven years. He added Super Massive Black Holes from Calgary will be headlining that night.
He said Saturday will feature a variety of music – mostly rock, but with a lighter and more upbeat tone than Friday. He said seven acts have been confirmed for the weekend, but but more artists will be featured during the open mic session on Saturday from 12-5 p.m.
Linklater said the unique thing about this festival is the emphasis on local musicians playing original songs – cover songs are discouraged – which provides those bands a great opportunity to showcase their talents and network with others.
The festival is also a fundraiser for an outdoor waterpark project proposed for Dawson Creek. Linklater is a member of the Stonewell Development Society that has undertaken that project, and as the father of two young children, he said he is very eager to see the waterpark come to fruition.
He said he was just in the process today of collecting the proceeds from early-bird ticket sales that will go towards the project. Mr. Mikes Steakhouse and Bar will be on site on Saturday grilling up hamburgers, with proceeds going to the project as well.
Tickets will still be available at the gate – $20 for Friday, $30 for Saturday or $40 for both days. He said for an extra $10 you can still support the waterpark project while being entered for a chance to win a substantial cash prize that will be drawn for on Saturday.
Linklater said camping is first-come-first-serve, and he encouraged patrons to bring their own chairs and bug repellent. The Bear Paw Campground is located about 15 minutes west of Dawson Creek on Highway 97 near the intersection with Highway 52.
"It's a nice spot down by the river, and if you like food, you like camping and you like live music, you can't go wrong," he said.
For more information, Linklater can be reached at 250-719-1248.
Of course, as music festivals in the Peace go, none are bigger than Grizfest in Tumbler Ridge the following weekend.
The event has grown to attract some of the best Canadian artists of the past and present, and this year is no different. Classic rockers like Kim Mitchell, April Wine, Platinum Blonde, and Kenny Shields and Streetheart are sure to have some older festival-goers reliving the glories of the past, while artists like These Kids Wear Crowns, One More Girl, Fefe Dobson, and Down with Webster will give the younger generation something to cheer about.
"We try to offer a variety of talent, a little bit for everybody," said Joy McKay, who sits on the Tumbler Ridge Days Society committee – a group of local volunteers who organize Grizfest. "Just with the calibre of artists were able to obtain, we have certainly grown."
There will also be acts like Sharon and Bram and Safari Jeff to entertain the little ones.
Local artists will be featured in a Battle of the Bands on Friday, July 29, at 7 p.m. The best vocalist and best band from the competition will get to be the opening acts for Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
"We encourage those local bands who are playing in their parent's garage to come on out and perform and hopefully win some of the cash prizes, and the recording time offered to the first-place winners," said McKay.
Besides the great music, other attractions on site include games, facepainting, and Dan the Balloon Man for the children, and beer gardens and a horseshoe tournament for the adults. Many vendors will also be on site.
Off the festival grounds, there will be pancake breakfasts on Saturday and Sunday, helicopter rides both days, a parade on Saturday and a golf tournament on Sunday.
For more information, including ticket prices, go online to www.grizfest.com or contact Joy McKay at 250-242-4246 or at [email protected].
For those who are looking for more easy-listening music that weekend, there is the Groundbirch Pasture-Pickin Music Jam at the Groundbirch Community Hall. The event invites amateur artists from all over the B.C. and Alberta Peace regions and beyond – mostly country music is featured, but also bluegrass and gospel – to perform over Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
"Anybody who wants to sing or play gives us their name, and it goes into a bucket, and when it's drawn from the bucket they go up onto the board and that gives us when they will have their half-hour to play," said Grant Hommy, who along with his wife, Karen, has organized the jam session for the last five years.
"If there are any left in the bucket they start the next day," he added.
People can feel free to cut loose on the outdoor, roofed dance floor, which has become a popular attraction. There is also a sheltered seating area, and a concession inside the hall open all weekend long.
"If you ask any of the people who come to these things, they say this is the best one going because we have everything set up so nice," said Hommy.
He added admission to the event is strictly by donation.
"There are lots of families who can't afford to go to these things, so we keep this one open to everybody."
He added there is lots of room to accommodate campers. The community hall is located just south of the Groundbirch Store off of Highway 97 west of Dawson Creek. For more information, contact Grant or Karen Hommy at 250-843-7246.