Almost 200 residents and visitors in Clearwater gathered at the Dutch Lake Community Centre for an evening of live entertainment, something many places haven’t been able to enjoy since the COVID-19 pandemic began over a year ago.
Kamloops’ Sabrina Weeks and Mike Hilliard opened the first of five live shows put on by the Wells Gray Lively Arts Society at their summer stage event.
Charlene and Barry Sommert are vacationing in Wells Gray Country from Millet, Alta. After a day of hiking to as many waterfalls as they could, they saw the Wells Gray Lively Arts summer stage signs in town and thought they’d come check it out.
“It’s fabulous,” said Barry about how it feels to be outside enjoying music. “It’s a beautiful place.”
The Sommerts were sitting next to two other couples — also from out of town.
The live outdoor music had Wade Sharp, who travelled with his wife Carol Reid from Quesnel, reminiscing about his childhood living in the Prairies.
“To me, it feels like home where I grew up in Saskatchewan,” he told the Times. “Small town, back-at-home feeling. This is what I grew up with.”
Despite the smoky skies, folks were just happy to be out, socializing and watching their kids play and make friends as they sat comfortably in lawn chairs, enjoying the live show. Reid said the best part about being at the show was the ability to meet new people by complete happenstance.
“Everybody misses this,” she added.
Wayne and Donna Roche live in Kamloops and said they had passed through Clearwater numerous times in the past but all they knew about the community was what could be seen from the highway. But the push to travel local due to COVID-19 led them to decide to stay in the area for a few days, something Wayne said may not have happened if it weren’t for the pandemic. They were staying just down the road and thought they’d take part in the festivities.
“It’s fantastic being outside again,” said Wayne. “Just being around people, feeling safer than we have in quite a long time.”
The next WGLAS summer stage outdoor live concert is tonight, Aug. 5. The Wheat in the Barley, a six-person Celtic and multi-cultural folk band from Vancouver will take the stage at 7 p.m., rain or shine.