The Bombadils

Harrison Festival Opens with Diverse Blend of Local and World Talent

Artists from the Fraser Valley and around the globe are set to descend on the sunny lakefront village of Harrison Hot Springs

The 37th annual Harrison Festival of the Arts running July 11 to 19 in beautiful Harrison Hot Springs gets underway with an opening weekend featuring several world class artists from the lower mainland as well as a diverse blend of international styles and performances.

The nine day celebration of world music & art begins at noon on Saturday, July 11 with a traditional welcome to the ancestral territory of the Sts’ailes people at the Festival’s lakefront Beach Stage. The traditional welcome will be followed immediately by a special performance from local pipe band, The Harrison Highlanders, celebrating their 10th year anniversary.  A strong showing of hometown talent will continue on the Beach Stage with young Chilliwack group, The Curbside Trad Jazz Band, who have been making waves around the province with their classic New Orleans jazz. Another local connection will be with the cinematic folk band The Bombadils, with Chilliwack-raised powerhouse Anh Phung on flute and harmonica.

The Beach Stage will also feature some music that is ideal for dancing in the forecasted sunshine. From Colombia, on both Saturday and Sunday, De Bruces A Mi, a seven piece band will play their own soulful brand of sunny roots reggae. From Vancouver, Tanga is another large, exciting band with a funky, jazz infused Latin groove appearing Sunday at 5 p.m. on the Beach Stage. The Beach Stage program is further diversified with performances by Vancouver’s Chinese string band Red Chamber and Eastern European harmony ensemble the Balkan Babes.

Evenings in the Memorial Hall will feature a joyful performance on Saturday, July 11  from Montreal-based  multi-national artists Ayrad, whose highly entertaining style fuses Morroccan pop-tinged songs with oboe, fiddle and even percussive dance. On Sunday, July 12, some familiar names will be appearing in the Hall with The High Bar Gang, which includes popular singer songwriters Barney Bentall and Shari Ulrich in a project that focuses on classic bluegrass and brings together some of the lower mainland’s finest studio and side musicians.

The Festival’s weekend workshops and waterfront Art Market also have a strong local connection. Saturday workshops in the Memorial Hall include the very popular Aboriginal Drum Making with Sts’ailes artist Darren Charlie and participatory song workshop with Chilliwack Folk Song Circle. Sunday workshops include Acappella with the Balkan Babes and AfroCuban Rhythms and Dance with Latin fusion group Tanga.

A staple feature of the Festival for more than 25 years, the juried art market features more than 50 plus vendors from as far away as the Okanagan with a strong showing from the local Fraser Valley including Chilliwack, Abbotsford and Mission. This waterfront market offers a treasure trove of one-of-a-kind home decor, body care, food, fashion and artful creations amidst the small town atmosphere and hospitality of Harrison Hot Springs.

With two music venues, a waterfront Art Market, Visual Art Exhibit, Children’s Day, weekend workshops, Literary Cafe, Evening of Theatre and new Acoustic Stage the Harrison Festival of the Arts is an event for the whole family.

Admission to the Beach Stage, Art Market, Workshops and Visual Art Exhibit is by donation. Children 12 and under are admitted free to evening Memorial Hall shows. Complete lineup and tickets for the 37th annual Harrison Festival of the Art are available online at www.harrisonfestival.com, by phone at 604-796-3664 or in person at the Ranger Station Art Gallery in Harrison.