The Bella Coola Music Festival is gearing up to celebrate its 20th year with an exciting lineup in the works for the popular outdoor event.
Hosted in the scenic Bella Coola Valley surrounded by lush forests and majestic mountains, the event the one of the most anticipated music festivals of the year for the region and enjoys great support from the community and visiting musicians.
“The Bella Coola Music Festival is very proud to celebrate its 20th year,” said President Jessie MacDonald. “We wanted to recognize the Bella Coola community that has supported us for so long, and we thought that a special ‘20 for 20’ promotion was a great way to do it.”
Some of this year’s notable acts include Cree band Midnight Shine, who have opened for the legendary late Tom Petty, recorded a cover of Neil Young’s iconic “Heart of Gold” (which includes lyrics sung in Cree), and been featured on national radio: CBC’s Q.
Turning heads with a sound that seamlessly mixes roots, classic and modern rock, Midnight Shine’s music is anchored by lead singer Adrian Sutherland’s eloquent lyrics and heartfelt vocals. The songs are not only radio-friendly, but also explore Cree culture, tradition and life in the North with depth and meaning.
Sutherland is from the Mushkegowuk Cree community of Attawapiskat, situated on the coast of the James Bay in Northern Ontario. He’s a singer/songwriter and frontman for roots/rock band Midnight Shine, making ‘radio-friendly’ music that draws upon his personal experiences, while reflecting universal themes like family, home, love and loss.
In addition to making contemporary music, Sutherland – who is fluent in Cree – is a traditional knowledge keeper. He teaches his children to hunt, fish, and survive on the land. He participates in spring and fall harvests, takes part in ceremonies, sings pow wow, and is a genuine example of someone who lives authentically. He is a father, grandfather, and hard-working husband, proud of who he is, and where he comes from.
While Adrian’s home has been the subject of much negative media attention, he would like to change those perceptions through the work he is doing with Midnight Shine: “There are good stories to be told from Attawapiskat, and from all over the North. I hope we’re one of them.”
Another one to watch is Victoria’s Jesse Roper. One of his songs was just sung for the likes of Katy Perry and Lionel Richie on American Idol.
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The singer said he is “stoked” after hearing his song earned its performer a ticket to Hollywood.
Jake Durkin, a 25-year-old singer-songwriter based out of Nashville, Tennessee, played two songs – Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On” and “Anytime of Night” by Roper.
“I chose Jesse’s song because I came across it on Spotify and fell in love with it. I love soul music and he’s been able to create a modern take on soul that I think is really authentic and beautiful,” said Durkin.
“Plus, I love singing that song and it’s about time more people in the U.S. know about Jesse Roper.”
Jesse Roper will close the show on Saturday, July 20 and Midnight Shine will take the stage as the last act on Sunday, July 21.
Tickets are now available online at www.bellacoolamusic.org or people can also pick up a paper copies at Kopas Store.