Young participants at last year’s Desert Daze keep cool in the heat.

Something for everyone at Desert Daze

This year's festival line-up in Spences Bridge has music to delight every taste, and lots more beside.

Spences Bridge may seem like a pretty sleepy town, a “blink and you miss it” type of mentality for lots of folks who pass through. Nothing could be farther from the truth! Here in our little town we are gearing up for our SIXTH annual Desert Daze Festival, from August 7‑8. It’s two days of music and workshops, shopping, and fun and games!

The festival is a little scaled down from previous years, but is still jam-packed with music and fun! It kicks off at 2:00 pm Friday with the Siska Drummers, a group of indigenous musicians who will open the festival with a prayer and a welcome song.  The music line-up is the most diverse one ever, with something for everyone! In keeping with our mandate to support local musicians we have two bands from Merritt. One is The Hoo Doos, playing a country-rock mix of covers that will have you dancing. The other played at the fall dance in Spences Bridge last year, and also graced the stage at this summer’s Music in the Park in Ashcroft: Bobby Garcia and Six More Strings are playing on Friday night, and will have you singing along and dancing to their country style.

If country isn’t your thing, then Bluesfoot from Kamloops will rock you! They will round off Friday night with rocking dancing favourites! Bluegrass, anyone? The Honkey-Tonk Dilettantes hail from Vancouver, and this bluegrass trio pluck and harmonize some of the good old tunes. Murfitt and Main, also from Vancouver, have played in this region before, and their country harmonies are not to be missed.

And now for something completely different: Kara-Kata! This 15—yes, 15—piece Afro Beat band is not to be missed. With horns, backup singers, and drums, this is sure to be a lively umping set! Angela Harris will bring some peace to the festival; this award-winning singer songwriter will win your heart with her gentle vocals and poignant lyrics. Also in this vein, and back by popular demand, is Hayley Henderickx from Portland. She’s our only import, and you’ll see why she’s back again: such talent in such a lovely young gal.

And drum roll please: closing the festival Saturday night is George Leach! We’re thrilled to have got George and his amazing blues trio to come here. George Leach is a Juno award winner, and hails from Lillooet; his blues guitar style of playing is amazing and not to be missed!

Of course, our little festival would not be complete without our very talented local musicians: festival favourites such as Spiritus Mundii, Flat Busted, John Kidder, Jennifer Ferguson, Nadine Davenport, and more!

You can find links to many of the musicians’ websites and/or YouTube videos on the Desert Daze website (www.desertdaze.ca) in order have a listen to the treats that are in store.

Vendors and volunteers are also needed for this event; please go to the website for details. Also check out the Facebook page and “like” it!

It’s not all about the music, though; we like to celebrate the bounty that this sun-drenched country provides. There will be watermelon spitting and apple bobbing contests, pickling and tomato canning workshops, and vendors supplying the local produce they grow. You will also find fine jewellery, clothing, crafts, and fantastic food for sale.  There will be a drumming workshop facilitated by Dave Dumont, so bring your djembes, hand drums, rattles, and shakers. Yoga yoga!

We are so happy that the very talented yoga instructor Maya Nadine will be offering a workshop; and if yoga isn’t your thing, there’s a workshop with “Doug the Hug”, the quirky guitarist! We will also be offering an indigenous traditional art workshop,  put on by local Indigenous artist Carolyn Lytton. You’ll walk away with a little piece of art of your own!

This is a family event, and to that end there is a supervised children’s area with sprinklers to run through and games to play. On Saturday there will also be a science experiment workshop for kids. Tickets are only $20 for a weekend pass! For further information please go to the website, or call (250) 458-2282.

Mavourneen Varcoe-Ryan

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