Edmonton band Boogie Patrol is just one of many bands that will be performing at the Backwoods Blues Festival.

Edmonton band Boogie Patrol is just one of many bands that will be performing at the Backwoods Blues Festival.

Blues festival hits May long weekend

This year the Horsethief Hideout is trying a family-oriented weekend of good music, good food, and great people.

Known for its annual biker congregation, this year the Horsethief Hideout, just past Wilmer, is trying a more family-oriented weekend of good, music, good food, and great people.

On the May long weekend, May 18 to 20, the first annual Backwoods Blues Festival hits the stage with a wide variety of musical acts. Featuring the talents of Kelly Jay of Crowbar, Mighty Joe Young, Boogie Patrol and much more, the festival aims to bring a one-of-a-kind musical experience to the Columbia Valley.

“We’ve always wanted to have multiple events a year out there,” Vice President of Events Stan Oja said. “We’re really trying to promote a family event for the May long weekend.”

Starting the evening of Friday May 18, ticket-holders are welcome to come on down to the Hideout to catch some of the opening bands before the event takes off in earnest the next day, when a daylong lineup of musical acts hits the stage. This continues throughout the weekend, culminating in an All-Star Blues Jam with all the bands in attendance Sunday evening.

There will also be a kid-friendly area called the Kids’ Corral, where youngsters can get their faces painted or maybe take in a magic act if they get a little tired of the music. Also featured at the Festival will be a number of vendors, who at this point are confirmed to be selling food, but Oja hopes that vendors from all kinds of local businesses come down to set up a stall free of charge, provided they are in fact local.

“What we’re trying to do is promote local vendors from within the valley,” Oja said. “It’s important to draw people in and promote the valley.”

For those unfamiliar to the Hideout, Oja describes it as a roughly 110-acre patch of land that contains an old saloon and an outdoor stage. These days, Oja and his father have set up a multi-purpose area that can cater to all different kinds of events, from private weddings to the annual Horsethief Memorial Rally, which is entering its ninth year.

The Hideout grounds also contain massive areas for camping, for those families that want to make a true outdoor weekend mixed with a festival atmosphere. Oja says there is more than enough space for the 3,000-odd tickets he’s printed so far, and each ticket gives you access to the campgrounds for the full three days along with the various musical acts. Tickets are available at The Book Bar in Invermere, at www.horesthiefhideout.ca, or at the gate the day of the event. Tickets are $50 for adults, $25 for youths and free for children 10 and under for the three-day event.

“I hope to see us selling all our tickets, but if I see 500 or 1,000 people come out I’ll be happy,” Oja said. “This first year is going to be the toughest, it’s going to make it or break it.”