The Arts on the Fly Festival returns this year with over 30 artists and musical groups set to perform.
This year marks the 13th time the small town of Horsefly has welcomed artists from across the province, country and the world to play on its streets. On four stages scattered across the downtown from July 12 to 13 Horsefly will be alive with the sound of music from traditional gospel to rebellious punk and everything in between.
The event is organized each year by Marin Patenaude and Brandon Hoffman, with help of the Arts on the Fly Festival Society. Patenaude is a fifth-generation Horsefly resident and local musician who has been involved in the Cariboo music scene for her whole life.
Patenaude is an executive director who serves as the production manager and artistic director for the festival. Currently, she lives in Vancouver to pursue her own solo career in music, where she has loved working with various artists and people.
“Music is healing. It’s an opportunity to bring us together, all generations and it crosses any border or cultural restrictions,” Patenaude said.
Providing a place for the community to experience music in an inclusive environment is one of the things she likes the most about helping to plan Arts on the Fly. Combining music with community, inclusivity and diversity, she said, creates pure magic in a small town music festival, especially for the youth and future artists of the community.
“Small town festivals spread inspiration and provide opportunities for something really exciting in your very own backyard,” Patenaude said.
This year she has chosen to release the artist list bit by bit to build anticipation and was unable to divulge the full list.
However, Patenaude did share some of her personal favourite acts that will be performing this year, though she admitted it was hard for her to pick one.
She looks forward to the performance of Richard Inman of Winnipeg, a folk and country singer with a deep baritone voice and a delicate musical touch. Inman is well known for his mature songs that tread the line between familiar and fresh.
Patenaude is “blown away” by the fact that Toronto based band The Sadies will be coming to Horsefly this year. The Sadies are a rock and roll band that are legends to many, she said, adding that they play the type of music where if you didn’t know it before, you’ll like it after hearing it.
Bad Hoo is a punk rock band out of Victoria which she is personally excited to bring to the area. Patenaude said she knows there has been and continues to be an audience in Williams Lake for this toe-tapping, head-banging genre.
Joining these announced artists thus far is Ora Cogan, Pharis and Jason Romero, Jenny Banai, Kitty & The Rooster, Viper Central, Steve Brockley, Barney Bentall, Annie Lou and Tonye Aganabada’s AFROSCIENCE.
When asked if there was any theme for this year’s Arts on the Fly musical lineup Patenaude firmly answered there never is a theme that constrains the festival. Instead, she said they aim to support and provide music that suits everyone’s tastes, whatever they may be.
“Life is about diversity, variety. We aim to support everyone’s taste and provide opportunities for everyone to be inspired,” Patenaude declared. “We love that the lineup ranges from rock and roll to bluegrass to psych folk to Middle Eastern and genres that can’t be described in a word or two.”
Early bird tickets for Arts on the Fly are currently on sale online and at The Open book and Red Shreds for $30 for adults Friday and $35 Saturday or $60 an adult for the full weekend. Teenagers and senior citizens enjoy a $5 discount both days and a $10 discount for the whole weekend.
Prices increase April 12, along with an Arts on the Fly presents concert series that will feature Ora Cogan and Patenaude herself. Doors open at 8 p.m. at the Central Cariboo Arts Centre with tickets available anywhere festival tickets are sold.
Patenaude concluded by encouraging everyone to come out and support the festival and give a friendly high five to any of the society members who help organize it every year. Any business looking to sponsor the event is encouraged to reach out to Arts on the Fly Festival Society.