The 26th edition of the Salmon Arm Roots & Blues festival provided the usual varied, if not eclectic offerings, that their continuing patrons have come to love. There was star power in Michael Franti and Spearhead, The Family Stone, Colin James and Russell deCarle. The Mbira Renaissance Band brought a taste of Africa, and blues veterans like Harpdog Brown and Big Dave McLean carried the flag for Canada.
Russell de Carle Harpdog Brown
There were folkies, gunslingers and even a pop band from Sweden called the Dimpker Brothers. But they fooled everybody and teamed up with activist, musician Reverend Sekou’s Afrofunk outfit to blow the place away.
Reverend Sekou and the Dimpker Brothers
Canada’s First Nations were represented by Kym Gouchie & Northern Sky. Oktopus from Quebec held up the klezmer part of the deal with soaring violins and an amazing horn section.
Workshop with members of Oktopus and The Paper Boys
Walking through the festival food and merchandise areas, you might run into a former member of Fleetwood Mac (Rick Vito), or a guy that has seven Maple Blues Awards, six Juno nominations, the Canadian Folk Music Award in 2005 for Best Solo Artist, and CBC Radio’s “Great Canadian Blues Award” for 2007, in the form of Harry Manx. If not you caught them on one of the stages later.
Harry Manx and Rick Vito
The mainly smoky weekend didn’t seem to bother the large crowds that the festival drew each day. The wine tasting and beer gardens area were generally full, the food concession area was busy and walking between stages you might also run into a unicorn, a tree monster, a mermaid and countless different figures on stilts. Another year of great fun, music, drink and food at the Salmon Arm Roots & Blues Festival.