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Vavenby New: Celebrating music at Serenity Harvest Festival

Over 200 people attend music festival at Serenity Performing Arts Centre
Olivia Holloway performs on a rub-board or washboard with Randy McAllister, a Grammy nominated bluesman from Texas. They were taking part in the Harvest Music Festival at Serenity Centre for the Performing Arts (located between Birch Island and Vavenby on Lost Creek Road) during the Sept. 8 - 10 weekend. Photo by Shirley de Vooght

By Robyn Rexin

Serenity Harvest Music Festival was held on the weekend of Sept. 8 – 10 at Serenity Performing Arts Centre (located between Birch Island and Vavenby on Lost Creek Road).

Over 200 people attended. Most of them camped and that was for free.

The majority of the audience was from out of town. There were people from Prince Rupert, a couple from Colorado who came to Vavenby for the festival, and a couple from Australia who had planned their holiday around the it.

Piglet of the ‘Hop ‘N’ ‘Hog Restaurant in Clearwater ran the concession.

The weather was not perfect for the event but the seated area was covered.

Singers and bands for this year were Randy McAllister and the Scrappiest Band in the Motherland, Greg Drummond, JP Maurice, Jeremy Grey, The Wild Romantics, Cod Gone Wild, Windborn, The Elk Tribe, Folk Road Show, Lost in the Woods, and the Clearwater Secondary School band.

One guest felt that the school band was really good and had a great selection of songs.

Shirley de Vooght has held this festival at the Serenity Performing Arts Centre for nine years. However, next year, Sept. 7 – 9, 2018, will be her last. Three of the singers / bands from this year as well as nine others will be performing. De Vooght has already sold 100 of her 300 tickets. Camping will be free with a ticket purchase before Jan. 1, 2018. Tickets can be bought now if one phones her at 250-676-9456.

De Vooght will still be doing music “with a few stellar opportunities on the horizon.”

READ MORE: Three acts at Serenity

Learning about salmon

On Thursday, Sept. 21, students from Vavenby Primary School went on a field trip to the Clearwater Interpretive Station and Raft River viewing platform. Blue River School was also there. Everyone had a good time.

There were a variety of educational sessions such as salmon viewing, traditional Simpcw fishing and stories, recycling, forestry education, and others. The children heard a native story and were taught a song. The song was a gift that is sung to the salmon every year. The students got bannock to eat that a First Nations person from the Dunn Lake hatchery had made.

The class was split into two teams and they had a recycling race. Some of the children were very eager to mention that they had won it.

One event that the students were very excited about was when a worker cut open a big dead chinook salmon to see if it had laid its eggs. It had.

READ MORE: Simpcw coordinate salmon program for students

No water in Vavenby

On Wednesday, Sept. 27, Vavenby residents were phoned by the TNRD and asked to conserve water. The two pumps at the well had lost their ability to work due to a low river level and a buildup of sediment and sand in the well. The reservoir became empty.

On Thursday morning the TNRD phoned again to tell everyone that they could get bottled and bulk water from the fire hall. The bottled water was sent by the TNRD and the bulk water came in a tanker truck from the Lazy Ranches and Hay Sales Ltd. in Knutsford.

The tanker had even put some water into the reservoir. Portable toilets were set up at the fire hall and people were told that they could go to the Clearwater arena for showers.

TNRD workers were busy on Thursday trying to get the pumps going by removing the sediment and sand and by fixing some components. They were also actively checking for any broken lines. Information was sent to the residents regularly.