Arts on the Fly’s new direction reaps success

Visual artist David Jacob Harder (left) and his borther Aaron (standing) led a casting workshop during Arts on the Fly Saturday afternoon. Here David creates a foot form with Niki Cockwill of Williams Lake who was the volunteer vendor co-ordinator for the festival. Monica Lamb-Yorski photo
Jason Romero accompanies cowboy poet Bruce Rolph on Friday evening during Arts on the Fly.
Throughout the weekend of Arts on the Fly, audience members adjusted as the rain fell hard a times and other times the sun shone as it did during Barney Bentall’s performance on Saturday evening.
Oliver Berger and his band of litter controllers kept the grounds clean and festival-goers mindful enough to pack out what they packed in. Here he is with his guitar-arm garbage pickers having some fun late Friday night. Monica Lamb-Yorski photo
Brandon Hoffman (centre), took time out of his tasks as sound guru for the festival to perform as Blocktreat, with Jess Rampling (left) on bass and Matt Campbell (right) on guitar.
The Thompson brothers
Siblings Cole Patenaude, Ciel Patenaude, Pharis Romero and Marin Patenaude perform with their father Geoff Patenaude on Friday evening. Monica Lamb-Yorski photo
Barnie Bentall performs Saturday evening on the main stage at Arts on the Fly. Monica Lamb-Yorski photo
Monica Lamb-Yorski photo

Organizers of this year’s Arts on the Fly are extremely pleased with how things came together.

“We took a few leaps with the artistic direction and it felt like everybody from kids to families to retired folks were right there with us, along for the ride,” said artistic director and co-ordinator Brandon Hoffman. “Even the weather, mostly, got on our side.”

A highlight was seeing the Toronto-based rock and roll country and western band The Sadies play in the Horsefly Community Hall in front of a jam-packed audience, Hoffman added.

“It felt like a culmination of something that’s been cooking away for a lot of years.”

Expressing gratitude for everyone who attended from the artists, volunteers, kitchen staff, the security team to all the guests, Hoffman said he looks forward to seeing them all back next year.

“We still have a couple of weeks of tidying up before we start on Arts on the Fly 2020,” he added.

On Friday evening, Horsefly’s own award-winning duo Jason and Pharis Romero hosted an opening concert featuring local performers from the area.

Read more: Romeros win JUNO for Traditional Roots Album of the Year

At one point, Pharis was joined on stage by her siblings Cole, Ciel and Marin Patenaude, and their father Geoff. Clad in long black dresses and ball caps, the siblings had fun singing with Geoff, no doubt sharing some of the songs they learned growing up together.

On Saturday evening the Romeros hosted a square dancing event in the community hall.

The festival boasted four stages, including the River Stage which was solar powered and engineered by Bill Irwin, known locally as ‘Electric Bill.”

There was some heavy rain during the evenings, however, the crowds endured, often dancing as lightning flashed and thunder boomed overhead.

On Saturday the sun was hot and that worked out for some of the workshops being offered, including yoga in the morning, a river walk and fine arts in the afternoon, as well as the Kids Zone activities.

Keeping the site clean were Oliver Berger and Mary Forbes from the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society.

They had a garbage army that worked diligently to encourage everyone not to litter.

Campers were advised to pack out what they brought in, and recycle everything at the multi-material recycling, compost and waste station set up at the main gate.

On the first evening Forbes walked through the two camp sites to greet campers and tell them she’d be by the next morning offering coffee and to pick up any recycling.

This coming weekend Forbes will travel to the Bella Coola Music Festival to man her zero waste station.

Read more: CASUAL COUNTRY 2019: Bella Coola Music Festival celebrates 20 years

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