Pemberton resident, town councillor, volunteer firefighter and music man Richard Doucet stewed over the lack of a homegrown folk festival for three years before he decided to go for it last Christmas.
His dedication has brought to life the first annual Pemberton Folk Festival, which kicks off with an aboriginal dance and drum ceremony next Saturday, June 12 and continues through the weekend, wrapping up in the evening of Sunday, June 13.
The lineup is a mixture of down home and world beat music. Saturdays headliner is Vancouvers Mike Weterings Band, who infuse their rock sound with the African rhythms frontman Mike Weterings learned to love while travelling across that continent. Sunday culminates with the rootsy folk of solo artist Rose Ranger. In the mix are local faces such as Susan Holden, Leanne Lamour, Moritz Behm and Greasy Jack and Julie, and Roma-Flamenco act Lolo & Gerardo. Doucet himself will take the stage as part of East Coast Celtic rock band Big Root.
All in all, the event promises an eclectic mix of bluegrass, country, blues, folk, Celtic, Caribbean and African sounds.
Doucet says the eclectic lineup "fits with the mix of the valley," and that hes excited to be offering a venue for original live music that doesnt get airplay on mainstream commercial radio. Hes also excited about the festivals location Pioneer Park.
"Families can just stroll into the park," says Doucet. "You dont have to drive three hours to enjoy a folk fest; you can have one in your own backyard."
Aside from live music, Pemberton folkies can attend music workshops throughout the weekend in banjo, flamenco guitar, songwriting, and upright bass. The ever-popular open bluegrass jam is also on the roster.
Doucet says the community has rallied behind the event so far.
"I think everyone has been waiting for something like this," he says. "Thats been a response from a lot of people: We should have had this a long time ago!"
Early bird weekend passes for the Pemberton Folk Fest are on sale until Friday, June 11 for $30, after which they will increase to $40. Single day adult passes are $25 for Saturday, $15 for Sunday. Advance tickets are on sale outside Pemberton at the Brackendale Bistro and The Whistler Question, and in town at Char-isma Emporium, the Pemberton Trading Co. and the Pemberton Therapeutic Massage Clinic.
For more information call 604-894-5904, extension 3. Check out the Pique next week for a comprehensive festival schedule.