Harrison Festival Society marketing manager Bryan Cutler and executive director Andy Hillhouse pose with the poster for the 40th Harrison Festival of the Arts. The society released the full list of artists for the upcoming festival Wednesday night. (Nina Grossman/The Observer)

Festival society releases full lineup for 40th Harrison Festival of the Arts

Legendary singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie and rock band Chilliwack among performers at 2018 festival

A small crowd gathered at the Ranger Station Art Gallery Wednesday evening was audibly shocked and awed by the news that this year’s Festival of the Arts will include a performance by none other than Buffy Sainte-Marie, the social justice, singing and songwriting warrior known across North America for her activism and music for the last 50 years.

The festival society released the summer’s full lineup of incredible artists last night – marking the 40th year the festival has brought world class art and music into the Harrison community. Executive director Andy Hillhouse told the room that to honour four decades of world music and art, the 2018 festival theme is ‘generations.’

Back in 1978, while the world was “shifting, politically and culturally,” the Harrison Festival of the Arts was born, he told the crowd.

“At 40 years, we are at a point where children and grandchildren of these founders and early community supporters are now visiting and supporting the festival.”

Hillhouse said the ‘generations’ theme will be honoured through the return of some performers with their children and grandchildren, through special acknowledgements at the festival and through a donated art piece by local artist Ernie Eaves.

Hillhouse told the Observer that having Sainte-Marie –who has been performing since the 1960s – at the festival this year not only speaks to the theme of generations, but has personal significance to his own life.

“My mom had an album of Buffy Sainte-Marie in the early 70s when I was a little kid,” he recalled, adding that the 1964 song ‘Universal Soldier’ has stuck with him through the years.

“She became a big voice for Indigenous people and beyond, to all people involved in social change. She’s a very inspiring voice. And what’s really cool is she continues to be [that.] She’s 75 and she won the Polaris prize two years ago,” he added.

Keeping with the festival’s theme of diversity and world music, the 2018 lineup includes artists from around the globe with a variety of backgrounds and musical styles. Between July 6 and July 15, locals and tourists alike can expect to be dazzled by folk, rap, reggae, celtic, blues and everything in between.

Some notable artists include spoken word performer Shane Koyczan, fiddler and step dancers The Step Crew, roots reggae artist Exco Levi and High Priest, blues singer Shakura S’aida and the legendary rock band Chilliwack – plus many more.

Singer-songwriter Leela Gilday will be returning to the festival and collaborating with fiddler Wesley Hardisty and rapper Ostwelve for a performance on the beach.

Kid’s music duo Bobs and Lolo will take the stage for Children’s Day, and the Ranger Station Art Gallery will be transformed into a time machine when Phyllis Stenson and Heather Robertson curate retrospective visual arts to display throughout the festival. As usual, the artisan market will delight visitors at the waterfront.

Between its spectacular lineup, ‘generations’ theme and continued spirit of inclusion, progress and of course, art, the 40th Harrison Festival of the Arts is shaping up to be one of its best.

“It’s about the legacy…we’re feeling like we are finally established…We’re still here, and going strong!” said Hillhouse.

To check out the full lineup and information about purchasing tickets and passes, visit harrisonfestival.com.

Tickets to see Buffy Sainte-Marie will go on sale May 1, all other show tickets are available for purchase now.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

LETTERS: Speak up for our seniors in long-term care

Jan Coates of Agassiz believes in the power of your voice

Harrison officials carefully monitoring E.coli levels in lagoon

Levels testing unusually high for this time of year, officials say

Chilliwack RCMP heard gunfire en route to suspicous activity

Chilliwack man, 42, sent to hospital after shooting, RCMP have confirmed

Hundreds fill Chilliwack streets for Black Lives Matter march

‘Canada has a problem too,’ reads at least one protester’s sign

IHIT names homicide victim found in the Fraser Canyon this week

Police asking for tips into the suspicious death of 29-year-old Alicia Berg

Trudeau offers $14B to provinces for anti-COVID-19 efforts through rest of year

Making a difference in municipalities is a pricey proposition

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

‘Like finding a needle in a haystack’: Ancient arrowhead discovered near Williams Lake

The artifact is believed to be from the Nesikip period between 7,500 BP to 6,000 BP

Indigenous families say their loved ones’ deaths in custody are part of pattern

Nora Martin joins other Indigenous families in calling for a significant shift in policing

Friends, family mourn Salt Spring Island woman killed in suspected murder-suicide

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched for Jennifer Quesnel’s three sons

Run for Water: Abbotsford man raises $100,000 running 100-mile marathon

Kevin Barata ran up and down Ledgeview Trails 32 times, exceeding elevation of Mt. Everest

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Indigenous chief alleges RCMP beat him during arrest that began over expired licence plate

Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam calling for independent investigation

Most Read