Music festival supporting flood relief
By: Tammy Rollie
| Posted: Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 08:18 am
Musicians from the foothills and beyond are bringing southern Albertans together for a party in the field next weekend.
More than a dozen country, blues and rock and roll artists will grace the Stampede stage, with a different artist every hour, at the Southern Alberta Music Festival Aug. 24 at Aspen Crossing by Mossleigh from 11 a.m. to midnight. Proceeds raised from the festival will go to the Town of High River Disaster Relief Fund to provide financial support to residents affected by the June 20 flood.
Milo musician Larry Vannatta helped to round up the southern Alberta musicians for the festival and is excited about the day’s lineup. They include Tin & the Toad, Larry Vannatta, Tanya Ryan, Lyndsay Butler, Drew Gregory, Steve Coffey and the Lokels, Over the Moon, Free Beer Band, Robert Larrabee, High Steppin’ Daddy, Melinda Bailey, Eva Levesque and the Long Haul and B.B. Jaru.
“There is so much talent in southern Alberta,” he said. “Steve Coffey, he’s a great act. Drew Gregory is doing great. I was trying to get a representative from each of the areas to make it more of a southern Alberta festival.”
When Vannatta began approaching artists to perform in the festival, the word spread and he heard from others interested in being a part of it.
“There was a lot of other artists we could have got in but we filled up,” he said. “With as much talent as there is, a guy could have run lots of days of these things.”
Discussions about the festival began between Vannatta and Aspen Crossing owner Jason Thornhill last spring.
“Festivals in my mind give the artist a chance to portray their original stuff,” Vannatta said. “It’s really neat to have people get the opportunity to see a local act they’ve been following and supporting and hear maybe some new songs. There are a lot of acts here from all over the place. It’s pretty cheap and throwing whatever proceeds to High River is a real win-win situation.”
As a performer, Vannatta said festivals are one of his favourite venues.
“The festival atmosphere is wonderful,” he said. “People are there to listen to us and I find that the most thrilling of all is playing original music and getting the feedback from the people. It’s a very open atmosphere.”
Plans for the festival began in May. When the flood hit, Vannatta and Thornhill continued their plans but decided to make it a charity event.
“We’ve probably had about 40 people who were homeless at our campground,” Thornhill said of Aspen Crossing’s campground. “We should be helping do something for the people if we can.”
Thornhill said organizers are still brainstorming ways to raise extra money for flood relief, such as silent auctions and 50/50 tickets.
This will be in addition to the beer gardens, food vendors and various other vendors selling locally-made products on the grounds.
Rain or shine, Thornhill said the show will go on.
“I had no idea we had that many good bands in the area,” he said. “There is everything from National North Rising Star Lyndsay Butler to Vannatta who’s in the top 10. We are pretty excited.”
Thornhill said more than 100 tickets have already sold.
The cost to attend the Southern Alberta Music Festival is $40 for general admission and $59 for reserved seating with a patio chair. Only 400 tickets are sold and can be purchased at ticketmaster.ca. For more information call 1-866-440-3500 or go to www.aspencrossing.com.
Anybody interested in volunteering at the festival, which will get them free admission to the concert, can contact Jason Thornhill at the above information.
Space is also available for vendors.