Celtic funk legends Mad Pudding play at the Harrison Festival Society Fundraiser Saturday

Harrison Festival Society Fundraiser Features Returning Festival Favourite

Saturday, May 23 event promises entertainment by Mad Pudding, desserts, raffles, door prizes and more

Celtic funk legends Mad Pudding will be returning to Harrison Hot Springs to share their unique blend of genres and influences in support of the 4th annual Harrison Festival Society Fundraiser Saturday, May 23 at 7:30 p.m, music 9 p.m. at the intimate Harrison Memorial Hall.

Their performance at the Festival Fundraiser will mark 20 years since their first appearance at the Memorial Hall in 1995. The band goes back to the early 1990’s, when Andy Hillhouse, Harrison Festival Society Artistic Director, Cam Wilson, and Amy Stephen met while studying music at UBC. In the late 1990’s they toured in the USA, UK and Europe, and put out four CDs of material that crossed over between traditional Canadian fiddle tunes, funk and unique song interpretations.

“Known for the high quality of their upbeat live shows, their music is characterized by instrumental virtuosity, strong vocal harmonies, and a sometimes irreverent approach to mixing sounds ranging from Celtic jigs to classical quotes, danceable covers, and funk bass lines,” says Harrison Festival Society President, Heather Robertson. “Pair that with being a high energy, danceable, Vancouver-based band with a history of connection to the Festival and Mad Pudding was an easy choice for our fourth annual Harrison Festival Fundraiser.”

The Harrison Festival Society, known worldwide for its professional artistry and small town hospitality has long been a beacon for growing acceptance of diversity and purpose fueled programming. Since the first culturally themed Harrison Festival of the Arts in 1985, the Society has consistently presented the best in Canadian and International performing and visual arts both for the annual July Festival and their Season of Performing Arts running from Sept to May each year.

“As well as being an important means of seeking resources to produce our year round programming, the Festival fundraiser is a chance to celebrate the achievements of our organization,” says Robertson. The evening includes door prizes, raffle, desserts and refreshments courtesy of Heritage House Cafe in Agassiz as well as a large selection of silent auction items including outdoor barbecue, surround sound stereo system, vacation rental packages and more, “but of course the music is the main attraction,” says Robertson.

One of the best-known bands to emerge from Canada’s coast to coast Celtic wave of the 1990’s, Mad Pudding cultivated a distinctly West Coast flavour in their music, drawing on influences ranging from Canadian old time fiddling, Irish traditional music, funk, R & B and progressive rock – and bringing them together in skillful arrangements, often with a dose of humour.

“They call their sound ‘Celtic Funk’ but there is a range to the styles they play that is tied together by a very west coast sense of musical freedom,” says Robertson.

Recently the band reunited with renewed energy after a 9 year hiatus. The current lineup includes the three original founders of the band, Andy Hillhouse (guitar, vocals), Cam Wilson (fiddle, vocals), and Amy Stephen (accordion, whistle, vocals), along with two of its longest touring members, Boris Favre (bass, vocals) and Allan Dionne (drums, vocals). Each member has had a varied and distinctive career, and the band continues to bring influences from their experience in traditional, jazz and classical music into its danceable, playful and upbeat style.

Tickets to the Harrison Festival Society Fundraiser with Mad Pudding are $35 and can be purchased online at www.harrisonfestival.com, by phone at 604-796-3664 or in person at the Ranger Station Art Gallery in Harrison.