Cowichan Valley is ‘festival central’ in the summertime Cowichan Valley is ‘festival central’ in the summertime as seen by this cheery group from Sunfest last year. (Citizen file)

Lexi Bainas column: Cowichan Valley is ‘festival central’ in the summertime

With something happening on almost every available stage every week, it’s time to get on out there

We’re right in the middle of the Festival Season (it deserves capital letters) in the Cowichan Valley today.

Truly, the Warmland has become festival central, offering summer music of every kind and more for an ever-increasing audience.

I hardly got the indoor events: the music festival, the big dance shows, the showstopper musicals off the calendar when we moved outside.

Suddenly it was time for the excitement of Canada Day’s Laketown Shakedown, with Snoop Dogg, of all people, at Laketown Ranch in Lake Cowichan.

And, of course, The 39 Days of July, with everyone from everywhere near and far, wafting tunes from several places around Duncan’s downtown core.

An out-of-town friend was in the office last week and, glancing through The 39 Days program, sighed over the huge number of performances available free for Valley residents.

We’ve just completed the Islands Folk Festival, which never fails to please with its easy ambience at wonderful Providence Farm, its galaxy of worldwide performers and its air of a backyard party with your best friends.

And in Chemainus, the CVAC group are deep into their schedule of summer music, which include both the Bluegrass and the Rockabilly Festivals at Waterwheel Park.

Now, it’s time for Sunfest Country Music Festival: the massive event at the specially-built venue just outside Lake Cowichan, with facilities and audiences that draw really big names to Vancouver Island.

There always seems to be something special about at least one Sunfest performer and this summer, it’s Saturday’s headliner: Maren Morris. Just in time for her show in the Cowichan Valley, her latest hit, ‘Girl’, is No. 1 on the Billboard Country chart. Nice going, Sunfest!

Meanwhile, the Shawnigan Players are gearing up this weekend with two previews for their Cowichan Shakespeare Festival. As has become tradition, these are held as part of the wind-up weekend at The 39 Days at Charles Hoey Park. Then the Players and their audience move to the delicious orchard setting of the Gem o’ the Isle in Cowichan Station.

These outdoor performances are always a summer delight for theatregoers of all ages.

After that, we’ve got Special Woodstock, which is marking its 20th year this year with not only a great show but a celebratory documentary as well.

All in all, it’s one heck of a summer, and it’s not over yet by any means.

So, put down the knitting, the book, and the broom, time for a holiday…

***

I’ve just received the August line-up for the Osborne Bay Pub.

We’ve got lots to enjoy this month, by the look of this list of acts presented by Berry Music Company.

First up, on Friday, Aug. 9 at 8 p.m. is Terrazetto Trio. There’s no cover for this chance to settle back and enjoy some zesty continental music, which includes original tunes blended with world beat re-inventions of pop tunes from the pens of Sonny and Cher, Lou Reed, Eddy Vedder, and Stevie Nicks.

Next night, Saturday, Aug. 10, also at 8 p.m., you can enjoy Brandy Moore and The Nightcaps.

This group steps up with classic rhythm and blues, and are real crowd pleasers on the southern Island scene since their founding in 2018. Anybody who knows anything about Isaac Hayes before he recorded ‘Shaft’, will seriously get my vote. Tickets are $10 each.

Blue Moon Marquee has been making the rounds of the Cowichan Valley and if you’ve missed them or want another listen, get to Crofton on Friday, Aug. 23 for their 8 p.m. show at Osborne Bay Pub.

If you want to discover how old Delta blues, swing, jazz, and even ragtime can blend together with an Alberta background, come hear this gang, who’ve left Wild Rose Country for a shack by the Salish Sea. Tickets are $15 in advance from eventbrite or $20 at the door. Don’t wait. Order those tix now.

On Saturday, Aug. 24, Wise Young Blood will remind you of the days when you couldn’t play that rock ‘n’ roll loud enough. Some grunge, some southern blues, and a whole lotta octane will have you hitting the road for this show, which starts at 9 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance from eventbrite or $20 at the door.

Finally, on Friday, Aug. 30 (feels strange to be writing anything about Aug. 30!), Jack, Ken & Ray are onstage at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 at the door.

This is another iteration of those talented boys from Eagle Eyes, and features Jack Gunderson, Kenneth Ermter and Ray Harvey as a power trio in a roster of classics done right.



lexi.bainas@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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