Festival brings Alberta talent to Longview
Entertainment: Weekend features art, music and crafts
By: Tammy Rollie
| Posted: Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 08:18 am
A Turner Valley musician is gearing up for a party in the park at one of his favourite venues of the summer.
Dan Warkentin, with band Big Dan and Broncabilly, is ready to rock the crowd with his upbeat sound at the two-day Longview Music & Arts Festival this weekend.
The event brings more than a dozen southern Alberta musicians to Longview’s Smith-Fuller Centennial Park in what is commonly known as Longstock.
“The atmosphere is awesome,” said the Turner Valley musician. “Everyone is hootin’ and hollerin’ and having a good time. There is nothing but smiles.”
When Warkentin was invited to play again this year, he jumped at the chance. He said he enjoys the outdoor atmosphere and getting to know other musicians.
“You get a chance to get together with some really good musicians and up and comers,” he said. “It’s like one big family.”
Even rain won’t put a damper on the event for Warkentin.
“I remember playing there once and it was showering,” he said. “People put their rain gear on and their rubber boots and we were still there playing. That’s what we like to do.”
Longview Music & Arts Festival Association President Eva Levesque, a member of The Travelling Mabels who will be on stage Sunday afternoon, said Longstock is a great way to celebrate music in the park.
The weekend of music and art starts noon Saturday and runs into the evening both days with plenty to see, do and eat, including beer gardens, a concession, silent auction and shopping.
Musical entertainment includes southern Alberta talents Hashmagandy, Vanatta, Mel Wilson Trio, Denis Davies, Over the Moon, T. Buckley, Shannon Smith Band and The Hickeys, said Levesque.
“There’s lots of great bands this year,” she said. “We’ve got everything from Pear, which is a high-energy duo with great harmonies, right down to Big Dan with his country, rock style. Jay Coda Walker is really hip and T. Buckley is one of those trios that always gets such a great response.”
Black Sheep’s Peter Boyce is looking forward to adding some country, blues, rock and reggae to the mix on Saturday afternoon. This summer will be the band’s third performance at the festival.
“The sound is great because it’s outdoors,” he said. “For some reason when you’re outside you tend to just let it rip. People come from all over to these things.”
Levesque said a different band will be on stage every hour.
“We are one of those festivals where you can kick your shoes off in the grass and just dance in front of the stage,” she said. “It’s a very relaxed, very nice atmosphere.”
Levesque said the festival will have more than a dozen southern Alberta artists featuring western and native art with paintings, portraits and pencil sketches. A children’s tent will also be set up to allow youngsters to showcase their own artistic skills, she said.
Vendors with feature jewelry, metal art, fabrics, food and even a card reader, said Levesque.
“There’s lots to see,” she said. “The park just fills, people are milling around, people are sitting in the beer garden with a cool one and listening to the bands.”
Levesque said Longstock t-shirts, CDs of the musicians performing throughout the weekend and other items will be sold at the event.
“It started off as a way for the community to get together,” she said. “A lot of people living in the same town don’t see each other for years. They like to visit with those neighbours they haven’t sat and had a chat with for a while.”
Even people from other provinces mark Longstock on their calendars each year, Levesque said, adding her own yard fills up with fifth wheels of friends and family who love to take in the weekend of festivities.
“They just don’t want to miss it,” she said. “They come back because it gets them out of that rat race, the hubbub of constant movement. They love the music and that each band is different. Every band has its own type of energy.”
Admission to attend Longstock is by donation, with some proceeds going toward the Foothills Therapeutic Riding Association. In past years, the event supported such non-profit organizations as Heaven Can Wait in High River and the Diamond Valley Boys and Girls Club.
“We named the charity before the flood hit, otherwise we probably would have raised money for the Red Cross, but we stuck with it,” Levesque said. “They are a really good organization. They’ve got 25 children and adults who have mental and physical disabilities and riding these horses is just an amazing transformation on their whole attitude.”
For more information about the weekend’s festivities go to www.longstock.org