Kids’ art camp set for Ashcroft

Creative Current looks at arts and entertainment in the area.

Charlie Wilson and Jude Pelley of Pennybrook

Charlie Wilson and Jude Pelley of Pennybrook

House Concert with Celtic duo Pennybrook

Creative Cow House Concerts presents the Celtic folk sounds of Pennybrook. Join them for a beautiful summer evening of original instrumentals and old-fashioned songs. Jude and Charlie make their return to the Ashcroft area for a House Concert on Wednesday July 31 at the Farmhouse at Barnes Lake (3820 Barnes Lake Rd., just past IG Machine and only 12 minutes from downtown Ashcroft). The show starts at 7:30 pm; call Nadine or Andrea at (250) 453-9100 to reserve your seat. Coffee, tea, and sweets are provided. We hope to see some new faces at this very enjoyable community event; it’s sure to be a great show!

Pennybrook is an acoustic duo based in southwestern Nova Scotia, specializing in original instrumental compositions with a Celtic flavour. Charlie Wilson plays Irish flute and whistles, and Jude Pelley plays guitars, mandolin, and Appalachian dulcimer. Their music is atmospheric; rich and complex, it draws on both traditional and contemporary influences. They have given concerts from Nova Scotia to B.C., and have just released their first full-length CD of original music.

Ridley Bent performs in Clinton

The “Music in the Park” series in Clinton has two great shows left. Next week you can catch Ridley Bent under the Gazebo on Saturday August 10. Expect some Southern twang which can slice across hip-hop sensibility. Ridley Bent is one of Canada’s strongest singer-songwriters, an exceptional lyricist who seems to have an endless cast of oddball characters running around in his head. Show time is 7:30 pm at Reg Conn Centennial Park. Barney Bentall closes out the series on Aug. 31.

Jazz/Blues singer Andrea Smith performs in Ashcroft

Winding Rivers Arts and Performance Society once again presents “Music in the Park” in Ashcroft this summer. The next concert in the series is on Wednesday August 14 and will feature the sweet soul/blues sounds of the Andrea Smith duo from Nanaimo. Andrea is a velvet-voiced blues, roots, rock, and jazz singer falling somewhere between Bonnie Raitt and Kathleen Edwards, with hints of Eva Cassidy.

Karla Cummins will be our local opener. Bring the whole family to a great night of music at the Gazebo in the Heritage Park on Railway. The music starts at 7:00 pm and runs until 9:30, so bring a lawn chair or blanket, relax, and enjoy the concert. Pass-the-hat-donations are encouraged. And come early – the park fills up fast!

Kids’ arts camp, adult acting classes, and a murder mystery!

Winding Rivers Arts and Performance Society is thrilled to offer “Under WRAPS”, a Kids’ Arts Camp from Aug. 12 – 15. The camp will be held at Ashcroft Elementary School, with instructors Jo Petty, Sabrina Weeks, and Gareth Smart, as well as other talented local artists, musicians, and actors. The camp is designed for kids aged Kindergarten to Grade 12, and will run from 9:00 am – 2:30 pm each day. Snacks will be provided; participants should bring their own lunches. The cost is $40 per child ($20 per sibling).

WRAPS will also be offering adult only acting classes from Aug. 13 – Sept. 3. This set of workshops will focus on how to spend your time on stage, and how to work with an ensemble. The cost is $20 per person. This workshop might encourage a few people to take the plunge and audition for our upcoming community play. This fall’s play will be a production with a twist: a dinner theatre performance of Café Murder (dates, cost, and venue to be announced). Casting will take place in late August, with performances tentatively scheduled for late October.

Café Murder is a hilarious murder mystery comedy about Rosemary Saint-John, a hypochondriac convinced she is allergic to water. She’s celebrating her birthday at a restaurant with her four kooky siblings – a hippie, a valley girl, a trucker, and a banker – and manages to make enemies with everyone around her. When she disappears and is presumed murdered, the only objective witnesses in the restaurant are the audience members, who must decide whodunit. Was it one of Rosemary’s siblings? The self-taught detective? The passionate French chef? The polite and proper mâitre d’? The sarcastic waiter? No one is above suspicion in this delightful dinner theatre murder mystery!

For more information, and to register for the workshops, e-mail or phone (250) 457-0538.

Desert Daze Festival line-up announced

Spences Bridge is busy preparing for its 4th annual Desert Daze Festival. The two-day event from Aug. 9 – 11 at the old school grounds presents a jam-packed musical line-up and a wide variety of delicious fruit and vegetables from nearby farms. In addition to the usual hot, sunny weather, the apple-bobbing and seed-spitting contests will be back.

“The seed-spitting champion spat 27 feet and ten inches a few years ago on his third try,” said Steve Rice, activity organizer and festival emcee. “The apple bob was popular with the kids.” Anyone up for the challenge should plan on joining these activities on Saturday afternoon.

The festival kicks off on Friday with an Aboriginal welcome ceremony. Over the two days more than 20 acts will perform on an outdoor stage, surrounded by towering desert mountains. Favourite local musicians include The Tequila Mockingbird Orchestra, The River and The Road and Richie and the Fendermen from Lytton, Flat Busted from Spences Bridge, and Spiritus Mundii from Ashcroft.

Gates open at 12:00 pm on Friday Aug. 9. Performing this year are: First Nations Drumming and Opening Prayer; Mavourneen Varcoe-Ryan; Dilli R; Aaron Goodwin; Roar and Lore; Lindsay May Trio; John Henry; Spiritus Mundii; Miss Quincy and The Showdown; and Richie and The Fendermen.

On Saturday Aug. 10 you can see Nadine Davenport; Al and Denise Horne; Dwayne Rourke; Miss Quincy and The Showdown; Barney Roth; Ladybug the Rambler; Flat Busted; and The River and The Road. Closing the festival is one of the hottest acts currently in Western Canada, The Tequila Mockingbird Orchestra. There are also some great workshop scheduled throughout the weekend, including Yoga with Maya and Bridging to Literacy’s “Story Time”; and there’s always space available for a jam session.

For more information on artists performing at the 4th Annual Desert Daze Festival, volunteering, and workshops, visit

Nadine Davenport