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Horsing around with music battle

Sea to Sky musicians invited to compete at new Equifest Battle of the Bands Competition

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What: Battle of the Bands

When: Saturday, Sept. 8

Where: Equifest grounds at Rohan Stables

Admission: $5

Pemberton Equifest gets rocking this year with an inugural Battle of the Bands competition challenging musicians to put their talents where their mic is.

“We have a lot of local talent in Pemberton,” said Deb Esseltine, Equifest founder. “We usually bring in musicians to come in and play, but it is not the same. You often see the same artist over and over again. Battle of the Bands will give us a chance to see what other talent is going on in Pemberton.”

Music is the newest addition to the Equifest weekend Sept. 8 to 9 at Rohan Stables on Clover Road in Pemberton. The community festival hosts an equestrian event, which this year includes the showmanship of trick riders from Alberta as well as a Canadian drasage team member who is expected to compete in the 2008 Olympic Summer Games in Beijing. The event also horses around with Show and Shine, a vintage-to-modern car exhibition that dusts off hidden auto gems hauled out of barns and into the spotlight.

Horse people, car people and now music people are joining in the fun.

Battle of the Bands encourages amateur Sea to Sky musicians of all ages and abilities to step up to the stage where they will perform a 20-minute set in the afternoon. The top three bands will perform at the Battle of the Bands finals later that evening with prizes given to the top dog and crowd favourite. A live show from Still Smokin’ will close out the instrumental   party.

“It’s a good opportunity for people to play,” said Sue Stearns, Still Smokin’ frontwoman and Battle of the Bands organizer. “It’s a low key environment with other events going on during the day…. Hopefully this will get people playing together and practicing. When you have something to work towards, it creates incentive and who knows where it can go from there.”

Still Smokin’ had its beginnings in a Whistler Battle of the Bands. The Pemberton-based group was known as Band X back in the late 1990s — they didn’t have a name, let a lone a solid lineup. But from the jamming bunch of musicians, came a sound spud valley crowds have come to know with regular gigs at corridor pubs, festivals and theatres.

Already bands have begun signing up for the all-day competition, including Transmission Party, jam bands from music nights at the Pemberton Community Centre and Chicks with Picks crusaders, including Stearns’s daughter Lucy.

From sitting backstage to watch her mom perform in Tuned Women II at MY Millennium Place to participating in Stearns’s Chicks with Picks classes, the 12-year-old drummer now dances to her own beat with her music trio of classmates on bass and guitar.

“There are a lot of young people who are just learning and are looking for a stage,” Stearns said. “There are also a lot of people who jam in Pemberton that we don’t always get to hear. Hopefully, this will get people and their music out there for everyone to enjoy.”

Registration is $25; fees will go towards battle awards. To sign up, contact music@pembertonequifest.com .

Equifest admission — which includes horse shows, car showing and Battle of the Bands — is $5. For more information, visit pembertonequifest.com.

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