Festival goers make their way to town. Ronan O’Doherty photo

WATCH: ArtsWells brings folk fun to small town B.C.

Over 100 musical performances and 20 workshops entertained festival goers

ArtsWells celebrated its 15th year in existence in style with a four day musical and arts extravaganza, which took place smack dab in the middle of the town of Wells from Aug 3 to 6.

Festival goers took in shows at a variety of venues from the grand yellow Community Hall to the warm Sunset Theatre to the intimate Wells Museum; and wandered around the town making new friends and reconnecting with others they might not have seen since the last ArtsWells.

Although the wardrobe varied from one person to another, one thing was constant, everyone was smiling.

There wasn’t a trace of attitude, ego or artifice to be found within the city limits or in the sea of camper vans and tents that surrounded it.

Performers came from all corners of the earth.

Kerryn Fields from New Zealand entertained a packed midday house at the Wells Pub on Saturday. Fields impressed the crowd with her captivating stage presence while performing and charmed them with her clever banter in between tunes.

The Outdoor Stage was geared more towards children, who swayed around a grassy dance floor while their parents enjoyed shows from the surrounding bleachers. California trio, Madeline Tasquin and Sarabande harmonized their way into a modest sized crowd’s hearts with some lovely songs, some of which drew upon Tasquin’s childhood in the Cariboo.

READ MORE: Madeline Tasquin and Sarabande play Quesnel Wednesday

Artistic and Executive Director, Julia Fowler, says it has been a lovely year for the festival.

“We’ve tried to really expand some of the multimedia arts that we do,” she says.

“We obviously have a lot of music but this year we’ve partnered with the Sunset Theatre to show some of their Exploration Series.”

In order to instill a love for the arts, workshops were offered at the festival and in the week leading up to it.

Everything from visual arts to circus arts were very popular with all who engaged.

Thirty kids and 24 adults who took part in the four day song writing clinic performed their creations in front of audiences.

Fowler, who co-ordinated the workshops, found the performances quite moving.

“To see the magic of those connections and the learning that’s gone on was a highlight for me,” she says.

A first for the festival this year was a private reception for a gathering of international festival directors.

Representatives from the Auckland Folk Festival (New Zealand), Coastella festival (New Zealand), Signet Folk Festival (Tasmania), A Thousand Trees Festival (England), the Philadelphia Festival (USA) as well as 15 festival directors from B.C and Alberta came to see some local artists and to find out more about ArtsWells.

“We’re hoping to build more opportunities for artists through the festival,” says Fowler.

“It’s a great atmosphere and way for other festival directors to see an artist because you’re seeing them in a festival environment.”

While attendees were quite well behaved, throwing a festival within the confines of a small town can have its difficulties.

“It’s always a challenge when you’re right in a community and people’s houses are right there and right there and right there,” Fowler says while pointing in every direction.

“But for the most part 99.9 per cent of the people are respectful and we have a lot of returning artists and volunteers and festival goers Who help spread the message to people who are coming here for the first time.”



ronan.odoherty@quesnelobserver.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

McLellan, Crowley, set for Canadian title grudge match

Williams Lake professional boxer Stuart McLellan is right where he wants to be: contending for a Canadian championship.

Discussion surrounding minor hockey division names a good one: Windeler

The 29-year-old is the Dwarf Athletic Association of Canada Vice President

One of the Cariboo’s greatest unsolved mysteries featured in The National

Journalists investigate bombing of Flight 21 more than 50 years ago

Highlights from the CRD Board December meeting

Cariboo Regional District board discusses cannabis sales and production

WATCH: Visitors flock to Barkerville for Christmas event

Check out our video of all the fun at the historic site east of Quesnel

Boeser scores 3, Pettersson has 5 points as Canucks hammer Blues

Vancouver picks up impressive 6-1 win in St. Louis

B.C. police stop drunk driver who offered up burger instead of ID

Roadblock checks over the weekend found at least two other impaired drivers

In Canada, the term ‘nationalism’ doesn’t seem to have a bad rap. Here’s why

Data suggest that Canadians don’t see the concept of nationalism the way people do in the United States

Small quake recorded west of Vancouver Island

No injuries or tsunami warning after 5.4 rumble felt some 400 kilometres from Victoria

B.C. suspends Chinese portion of Asian forestry trade mission due to Huawei arrest

Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou was detained at the request of U.S. in Vancouver

Canadians spent $1.7 billion dollars online in December 2017

Online retail sales accounted for 3.4 per cent of total retail sales

2-year investigations nets $900,000 in refunds for payday loan customers

Consumer Protection BC says selling practices were ‘aggressive and deceptive’

China: Canada’s detention of Huawei exec ‘vile in nature’

Huawei is the biggest global supplier of network gear for phone and internet company

Most Read