Submitted by Frank Wall, Artistic Director–Festival season again, and this year’s Edge of the World Music Festival in Tlell promises to be bigger and better than ever! For its tenth anniversary, the festival is showcasing more dance bands, more workshops, more fringe events and a second stage for virtually non-stop music from July 9 to 11. The variety and energy level of this year’s performer’s will knock your socks so far off you may never find’em again! Thanks to funding assistance from the BC Arts Council and special flight rates for our off-island guests provided by Hawkair, we have managed to bring in an astounding line up of musicians from off-island. We’ve also had an unprecedented response from our local talent and are doing our best to fit everyone in.
Popularity of the festival has certainly grown. Expressions of interest from over three-hundred unsolicited musicians from around the world were received this year. What makes our festival so special? The location certainly plays a role. Furthermore, performers from years past are spreading the word to other bands that the hospitality and enthusiasm of the crowd and volunteers of Haida Gwaii is beyond compare. This is definitely an event all islanders can be proud of. Whether you work year round as a co-ordinator, volunteer a few hours, perform on stage, sell your crafts or food or buy a pass at the gate, you make the Edge of the World happen.
The question most are asking is “who’s playing?” We’re hosting five headlining bands this year, each performing twice during the week-end – including day time sets for those who don’t last through the late night. These are: Allakomi, a West African Griot Family playing their traditional, high energy, feel good, dance music; Vancouver’s Slammin Jack will deliver “a heavy punch spiked with funky grooves and bold explosive jams”; Marcel Gagnon and his band from Prince George, nominated in three categories in the 2001 Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards and for a Juno in 2002, bring us an original blend of styles, including what Marcel calls “Aboriginal Rock”; The vibrant, interactive and percussive sounds of Victoria’s Marimba Muzuva, the first Canadian group to perform Zimbabwean marimba and mbira music; and the Yukon’s Anne Louise Genest and her trio, who offer “compelling, sometimes ancient-sounding melodies spun from the human heart” in the musical traditions of roots, folk, old tyme and country. We are very honoured to have a special appearance by CBC Radio’s Bill Richardson sponsored by the QCI Arts Council. Other special guests cover as many musical styles as you could imagine, including Cuban, Celtic, Blues, Rock, Roma Gypsy, Jazz, Funk, Punk/Skaw, Country, Roots and many who defy categorization! Watch for future articles for more details about our scheduled performers, workshops and special events (like the Edge of the World Marathon!) and check out our website at www.edgefestival.com.
This year’s theme is “closer to the edge!” (Remember the storm?) If you have never experienced the Edge of the World Music Festival, this is the year to be there. If the festival has always been a part of your summer, prepare yourself for the wildest week-end ever! To get more involved contact our volunteer coordinator, Sabrina Frazier, at 557-4339.
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