Harrison Festival Society will host their fifth annual fundraising concert on Saturday May 14 in the Harrison Memorial Hall, featuring the Vancouver soul and funk institution, Soulstream.
Fronted by vocalist Rebecca Shoichet, Vancouver’s tightest and funkiest party band Soulstream features a roster of top-tier Vancouver studio and gigging players. For these stellar musicians, playing in Soulstream is a chance to get down and funky with some of the best funk, soul, and r and b music from the 1960s to the current day. From Stevie Wonder, to James Brown, to Tower of Power, Soulstream brings high energy grooves that may just threaten to light a fire on the dance floor at the Memorial Hall.
Artistic Director Andy Hillhouse first saw Soulstream at Bar None in Yaletown, where they were the Monday night house band for over ten years.
“I ended up heading down there on a regular basis, because it was wonderful to hear this kind of music played so well live,” says Hillhouse. “The band is led by drummer Randall Stoll, who has played with kd lang, Tom Cochrane, and Gene Simons, among others. Hillhouse says “He’s a fantastic player, and provides the faultless groove that is at the heart of this music.”
The society is raising funds for the 38th Harrison Festival of the Arts in what has been a turbulent year for similar events across Canada. From large for-profit festivals such as the Pemberton Music Festival, to more modest events like Wolf Island Festival in Kingston, Ontario, a number of festivals are feeling an economic crunch that in some cases has caused them to shut down or take a year off. Part of the issue is the seeming glut of festivals across the country in recent years, creating at times intense competition for audiences and resources. To ward off the troubles that sometimes beset other live cultural events, the Harrison Festival tries to maintain a variety of revenue streams, of which fundraiser events are an important part.
“One of our advantages is that we have been around now for several decades, and have learned a few things. Due to sound business practices, the steady support of our community, and years of work by my predecessors in building access to funding channels, the Festival Society has managed to weather the economic storms that have caused significant difficulties for some other festivals,” says Hillhouse. “However, we do not have the same potential for revenue growth as larger, gated festivals. It’s essential to our mandate to offer high accessibility to the public, with free beach concerts and a very reasonable ticket price for shows in our small hall. So when costs go up, as they have in the past year, it can put a strain on our budget, as we have few opportunities to bring in added revenue at the Box Office.”
Some of the price increases Hillhouse points to relate to the rising US dollar, increases in accommodation costs, increased mail costs (for the second year in a row), decreases in CD sales and the associated commission and various other operational price increases. This year the festival enhanced their sound system, which was paid for through funding from a sponsorship matching grant received in 2015.
The event will feature deserts, a silent auction, door prizes and 50/50 draw as well. All proceeds will go to supporting the production of this year’s Festival of the Arts, which takes place July 9-17 in Harrison Hot Springs.
The event will begin at 7:00PM, May 14th in the Harrison Memorial Hall. The band hits the stage at 9:00PM. Tickets are $40 and can be purchased online at harrisonfestival.com, over the phone at 604.796.3664 or at the door.