By Robyn Rexin
The weekend from Sept. 7 – 9 was a busy one for Vavenby. To start things off, it was the last of Shirley deVooght’s Serenity Harvest Music Festivals, a family friendly event. She has had one for the last nine years.
It takes her a year to get ready for the next one, but the bands would phone her to ask to play. Many prefer her music festival over others.
This year there were up to 400 spectators present; many were camping. An actual count of 61 trailers was taken and camping was provided on deVooght’s property for free.
A lot of young families were present. One camper from Kamloops said she’s come since the festival started and has brought more campers with her. One time friends from Australia came with her and her husband. She often brings her grandchildren for the experience.
She and her husband have travelled all over B.C. going to various music shows and they feel Serenity’s is the best festival ever one can go to.
The festival began at 7 p.m. Friday night. To start things off Lizzie Cline, the master of ceremonies, gave thanks to deVooght for everything she had done to present the show. After going over the house rules, such as keeping your dog on a leash and an eye on your children, she introduced the first group for the evening.
It was Cod Gone Wild. One of it’s members, Sean Bray, has been named by CBC radio as one of Canada’s top 50 guitarists ever. The female performer, Susan Ayland, was fantastic on the fiddle and violin. The whole band is very talented and it had adults and children up out of their chairs dancing and swaying to the music, even in the rain.
The second group was Jeff Windborne, and the last for the night was Devon Coyote. Coyote’s group started with some rock and roll which had everyone dancing again. The night session was over by 10:30 p.m.
Saturday’s program began at 1 p.m. The weather was better than Friday’s with cloudy periods, but no rain. Cline went over the house rules again and then introduced the band Chilladelphia from Abbotsford.
It was their first time performing at this festival. They were followed by Ripple Illusion and then North Country Gentlemen.
Gordy Kinjo and the Mocking Birds was the last group before the dinner break which was from 5—7 p.m.
The Mad Wrapper, the concession stand, was very busy. It had a good and a different variety of food. This break also provided people time to visit the other vendors present. One was Sarah Rese’s Creations. Rese makes natural healing stone jewellery and more. She comes from 100 Mile House.
Mikaela Niberg from Calahoo, Alberta, was selling her homemade jewellery as well. Her business, Peace Together, uses wood, but mainly leather for her creations. Her sign read ‘“Peace” together what was old to give new life to something new..’
All the vendors felt that they had done good business over the weekend.
Meghan Nash was the first on the stage after the break. She is from Saskatchewan and had been waiting one and a half years to sing at Serenity. Nash has a beautiful and strong voice but did have back-up singers and instrumentalists. She told a lot of funny family stories that explained why she wrote a certain song.
After her performance there was a break for deVooght’s delicious homemade cheesecake. Everyone rushed up to the stand to get some. Following this short break the duo Towers and Trees started to play. Their first song was “Leaving Kamloops”. People were back up dancing.
Following the band, deVooght came on the stage to thank everyone who had helped her prepare for this huge event. Constant thanks from her, Cline, and the bands went out to Andrew Mercer, the sound engineer, and Martyn Jones for the lights. Both are from the band Cod Gone Wild.
Sunday was a sunny, warm day. The festival began at 11 a.m. Del Swallow’s group from Regina, Saskatchewan, was up first and felt their song “Sundays”was a good one to start off with. Swallow would tell stories of how he got his ideas for the songs he wrote.
The next band was the duo Brodie Sawson and Luke Blue Guthrie. They were from Vancouver Island. Then it was another music jam with other singers still present at Serenity getting up on the stage and singing all together. A spectator got on stage as well.
The Serenity Harvest Music Festival was an exhilerating experience and for many people and singers was the last. They will have the memories of the time they spent here, though. And to see all the young children out in the fresh air and dancing to the beat of the music will also be a good memory for the parents and grandparents.
Many thanks go out to Shirley for starting the event and all the hard work she put in to keeping it going. The festival was a huge success.
Vavenby had a few water problems that weekend. On the Friday the TNRD phoned residents putting them on a boil water notice due to high turbidity levels.
Then a break in a water line had to be found. The water on Ball Road and offshoots of Thatust Street was turned off. And to make matters worse there was a mud slide out of Blue River on the Saturday It went into the North Thompson River, making house water unusable by the afternoon.