The Harrison Festival Society may not have their formal festival this year, but the momentum its built with summer events amid the pandemic so far can’t be denied.
The Festival Society recently announced the Still Running Online Concert Series, a concert series to feature nine solo artists and groups set to perform in three videos. Some of the artists have graced the Memorial Hall stage before while others are newcomers.
Their first video, titled “Off and Running”, was uploaded to Harrison Festival Society’s YouTube page on Thursday, July 23, featuring Doug Cox, Boyd Benjamin and Kevin Barr and Maria Dunn.
Doug Cox has been part of the Harrison Festival of the Arts for a number of years. This 2017 B.C. Music Hall of Fame inductee and Grammy nominee is the master of several instruments with his roots in blues, commanding the bottleneck slide guitar and dobro. He has collaborated with a wide variety of artists from around the world, including Vishwa Mohan and Salil Bhatt of India and Rwandan musician Mighty Popo.
Boyd Benjamin comes from a long legacy of Gwitch’in musicians. Boyd lives and breathes the fiddle, immersed in formal training and old-fashioned know how passed on through his family. His styles and techniques are as varied as the musicians he’s collaborated with, including Buffy Sainte-Marie, Fred Penner and Ashley MacIsaac. He has also performed at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.
Kevin Barr is known as the troubadour of the Yukon, singing folk, bluegrass and country song solo and with his band The Undertakin’ Daddies, touring through Europe. Barr has made music with the likes of KD Lang, Kim Beggs and the beloved Penny Lang, who said he “sings like an angel.”
Maria Dunn’s songs are of the working men and women. Her latest recording, which earned her a Juno nomination and an Edmonton Music Prize is Gathering, a love letter to family, community and making the world a better place. Her lyrical prowess spans the historical to the intimate and everywhere in between.
The 29-minute video, as with the two to come at a later date, are available free of charge with the option of donating to the arts via PayPal.
In lieu of the 2020 Festival of the Arts, which was shelved due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Festival Society launched three live events. The Bentall Taylor Ulrich concert on July 11 at Holberg Farms sold out three performance slots in less than 24 hours. The video of said concert is slated to appear on the Festival Society’s website soon.
The dates for the remaining two Still Running Online Concert Series have not yet been announced as of publication.
Will’s Jams took over Maple Street in Harrison Hot Springs on July 15, much to the delight of local kids. The famed kids’ rock artist performed three different time slots as well.
Sts’ailes artist Darren Charlie built drums with some locals in his Indigenous drum making workshop outside Memorial Hall.
More information on how to contribute to the Society’s work is available through their website at www.harrisonfestival.com/get-involved, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 604-796-3664.
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