After a two year hiatus, Arts on the Fly is back and ready to soar.
With four stages and more than 40 performers, the two-day long festival in Horsefly is set to start July 13.
The festival was cancelled in 2017, due to wildfires plaguing the region (Williams Lake was evacuated the Saturday they had planned the festival for).
The year before, the festival took a year-long break due to volunteer fatigue.
“Last year was supposed to be the comeback year, this year is the double comeback year,” says organizer Brandon Hoffman.
“I’m so stoked, it was devastating last year.”
Though he says it now feels like they have something to prove — doubly so after the cancellation last year — the lineup more than makes up for the time off.
Juno Award winners, and Horsefly locals Pharis and Jason Romero are at the festival this year, alongside the Cole Patenaude Band, Wooden Horsemen, Pugs and Crows with Marin Patenaude, Beka Solo and many, many more.
New to the festival this year is a solar-powered electric stage by the river, named, after its creator, Bill Irwin, the “Electric Bill,” stage.
The festival has also received grant money from the Central Cariboo Arts and Culture Society to do video featurettes on a handful of artists at Arts on the Fly.
“We are picking select times for some of our favourite artists to play in the hall and get decent production value video shots of their set that can be later properly mixed and uploaded,” says Hoffman.
“It’s an Arts on the Fly presents, so it’s nice brand building for us, and give us these cool artifacts after the festival to remember it.”
Ahead of the festival is a songwriting workshop — for all levels — being led by Pharis Romero, Marin Patenaude and Sarah Jane Scouten.
Taking place on the Romero’s property just outside of Horsefly, the two day workshop, on July 11 and 12, will do a deep dive into melody, form, chord structure, lyricism and rhythm, alongside the development and delivery of songs.
“Pharis, Marin and Sarah all come at it from quite different angles and different traditions,” says Hoffman.
Tickets are going quickly for the workshop however, so book soon.
Hoffman says they had a leg up this year, as most of the artists and sponsors from last year’s cancellations stayed on board. Hoffman says he has added several more exciting acts throughout the year, to the point where the schedule is packed.
In addition, there are some fresh workshops this year, with a pine basket weaving workshop, and a kid’s rattle making workshop. Cole Patenaude will also run a kid’s sing-along, and the festival itself will have a Kidszone that will run all day Saturday.
Jesaja Class will perform some of his illusions as well.
Arts on the Fly begins officially on Friday, July 13. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and music starts at 6:30 p.m.
Camping is available on-site, and the festivities start back up again at 11 a.m. on Saturday morning with yoga in the field, led by Ciel Patenaude and featuring the music of Plasteroid, (Owen Connell), who plays keyboards with several of the attending bands. His sound is, as Hoffman puts it “a nice groovy, mellow, ambient music.”
While the Electric Bill stage will end at sunset, the mainstage will go until late every evening.
Tickets for adults are $60 for the weekend, and reduced prices are available for youth and seniors. They can be purchased on the festival site, at the Open Book or online at www.artsonthefly.com.
“Horsefly is just such a special place for me always,” says Hoffman, when he talks about what makes Arts on the Fly so unique. “The river is so lovely, if you feel like exploring Moffat Falls is right there and there are beautiful trails and lakes all round so its just so nice for me to get out there a couple days early and stay out a couple days late and just to absorb the town of Horsefly.”