Street festival turns to the blues

Okotoks: Saturday series offers food, arts and live music

By: Ian Tennant

  |  Posted: Thursday, Aug 07, 2014 06:00 am

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The second-to-last instalment of the Summer Saturdays Street Festival will be a bit blue.

Not the colour blue, but “The Blues” will be played by celebrated musician John Rutherford.

“It’s going to be a show-stopper,” said Allan Boss, the Town of Okotoks cultural and historical services team leader.

Boss said he was really excited about Rutherford, who specializes in slide guitar played on vintage instruments, performing at the Aug. 9 street festival.

Rutherford’s repertoire is actually much broader than just the blues, although he honed his skills with numerous shows at the King Edward Hotel – the notorious blues hangout in Calgary that has since been demolished to make way for the National Music Centre.

Rutherford is a singer/songwriter whose style covers genres such as folk, roots, rock and roll and, of course, the blues. His 2010 solo debut Echo Broadcast was number one on the CKUA Radio Network’s Top 30 Music Chart, number two on Halifax’s CKDU Top 30 and reached the eighth spot on the national Earshot Folk, Roots and Blues Music Chart.

Boss said Rutherford is helping him recruit other performers to entertain the folks as they wander around North Railway Street.

“It will be a blast,” said Boss.

The event runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on North Railway Street, which will be blocked off between Alberta and Lineham Avenues.

Patrons will be able to enjoy a variety of snacks, perhaps try a barbecued sausage grilled by the crew at Bistro 1882 (formerly Bistro Provence) and survey many of the arts and crafts tables that will be set up.

Boss encourages folks to check out the arts and crafts that will be on display and for sale.

“They are all local so you will be supporting local artists,” he said.

In addition, Boss suggests people strolling around that Saturday should pop into the Okotoks Art Gallery to take in an exhibit by Turner Valley artist Gordon Milne. The Canadian Sport Heroes Collection depicts 15 top Canadian athletes in a series of large-scale acrylic portraits in which Milne employs vibrant colours to great effect.

The Okotoks Museum and Archive on North Railway Street is, Boss recommends, a terrific place to visit between musicians rocking it up on the outdoor stage.

“Learn a little bit more about the community,” Boss suggested.

The last Summer Saturdays Street Festival will be held Aug. 30 in conjunction with the 13th Annual Chili Fest & Cook Off.

“That’s going to be a huge one again,” said an enthusiastic Boss.

For more information about the Summer Saturdays Street Festival go to


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