The season of patios, barbecues and long summer nights is just around the corner, and to help bring in the summer holidays the Steamboat Mountain Music Festival is offering up a tasty helping of homegrown musicians and larger headline acts alike.
“About a year and a half ago, two of us were thinking we needed to do something to get [Edgewater] on the map,” said organizer and music director Larry Newman. “So we thought the best thing we could do is maybe do a music festival that would help get people to the town.”
Featuring music from a wide range of genres stretching from bluegrass and blues to folk and jazz, the festival also has an ulterior motive in raising funds for the newly established non-profit Steamboat Mountain Music Society, which was registered about six months ago.
The society plans on funding brand new bursaries and scholarships with any profits from the festival, to help valley musicians hone their skills.
“Our mandate is to raise money for musical education,” said Newman. “We’re not going to limit our age group at all… I know there are musicians in this valley who are in their seventies, and there are musicians who are in their early teens. We want to see everybody who plays music in the valley to have an opportunity to improve and to develop their skills. It’s really to the valley’s benefit in the long-term, because they get to hear these people playing.”
Acts at the festival include a large variety of local groups, including Newman’s own Dry Gulch Ramblers, L8, Combo Akimbo, Bob Benvenuti, Marty and Elijah Beingessner and many more, and more widely known acts like bluegrass group John Reischman and the Jaybirds, Maria in the Shower from Toronto, and Juno award nominee Mark Koenig.
Newman said that part of the festival’s mandate is to have 60 per cent local musicians take part, because he feels like Columbia Valley musicians need all the help they can get.
“I think Columbia Valley musicians deserve to get the exposure,” he said. “We really want to try and support them here, both financially and to give them the opportunity to play in front of the public to give them the breaks they need.”
The festival will take place on Saturday, July 7 at the grounds of Edgewater Elementary, and tickets are now on sale for $35 at One Hour Photo in Invermere, in Fairmont at Smoking Waters Coffee Co., at the Skookum Service in Windermere, at Meet on Higher Ground in Radium and at Pip’s Country Store in Edgewater.
“We have an awful amount of buzz for it,” Newman said. “People think it’s an awesome concept and I just hope people are willing to come out and support the event.”
For more information visit www.steamboatmtnmusicfest.ca.