Harrison ready to welcome the world

Harrison Festival of the Arts opens July 11 with world-class local and international acts performed in a range of venues.

The Bombadils

The Bombadils

Some fierce musical talent is coming from both near and far.

Harrison Festival of the Arts opens July 11 with world-class local and international acts performed in a range of venues.

Two beach stage acts with direct connections to Chilliwack include The Curbside Trad Jazz Band with members from Chilliwack Secondary, with their classic New Orleans jazz sound, and cinematic folk band The Bombadils, with Anh Phung, who grew up in Chilliwack, on flute and harmonica.

The nine-day celebration begins at noon on Saturday, July 11 with a traditional welcome to the ancestral territory of the Sts’ailes people at the Festival’s lakefront Beach Stage. The welcome will be followed immediately by a performance from local pipe band, The Harrison Highlanders, celebrating their 10th anniversary.

The Beach Stage will also see music meant for dancing. From Colombia, on both Saturday and Sunday, De Bruces A Mi, a seven-piece act will play their own soulful brand of sunny roots reggae. From Vancouver, Tanga is another large, exciting band with a funky, jazz infused Latin groove appearing Sunday at 5 p.m. on the beach stage. The beach action is further diversified with performances by Vancouver’s Chinese string band Red Chamber and Eastern European harmony ensemble the Balkan Babes.

Evenings in the Memorial Hall start with a joyful performance on Saturday, July 11 from Montreal-based artists Ayrad, fusing Morroccan pop-tinged songs with oboe, fiddle and even percussive dance. On Sunday, July 12, some familiar names will be appearing in the Hall with The High Bar Gang, which includes popular singer songwriters Barney Bentall and Shari Ulrich in a project that focuses on classic bluegrass and brings together some of the lower mainland’s finest studio and side musicians.

Electric Blues duo The Harpoonist & The Axe Murderer, celebrated Scottish folk band Breabach and Newfoundland vocal trio The Once will also be on the evening concert list.  The free access Beach Stage will see contemporary Québécois ensemble Les Poules à Colin, Chinese string band Red Chamber, Latin fusion group Tanga, alternative neo folk musician Oliver Swain’s BIG MACHINE, traditional Persian group Vashaan Ensemble, Nunavut folk rock group The Jerry Cans and many more. With two music venues, a waterfront Art Market, Visual Art Exhibit, Children’s Day, weekend workshops and new Acoustic Stage the Harrison Festival of the Arts is an event for the whole family amidst the breathtaking scenery and small town atmosphere of Harrison Hot Springs.

Admission to the Beach Stage, Art Market, Workshops and Visual Art Exhibit is by donation. Children 12 and under get in free to evening Memorial Hall shows. Complete lineup and tickets at www.harrisonfestival.com, by phone at 604.796.3664 or in person at the Ranger Station Art Gallery in Harrison.