Toe-tapping, heart-warming, top notch entertainment is lined up for the 19th annual Cariboo Chilcotin Métis Association Jamboree, taking place this Friday and Saturday at the McLeese Lake Community Hall.
Jamboree organizer Arnold Lucier said everything has fallen into place and that excitement builds as the two-day jamboree nears.
“I just played a couple of stages in Manitoba and have told people about our event: word of mouth is great,” he said.
“I left posters at all the festivals I played and people are coming from the prairies to enjoy our jamboree.”
This year’s lineup has stirred up a lot of anticipation for the event, Lucier said.
“We have a wider range of music; we’re so excited to have Gary Fjellgaard playing this year on both Friday and Saturday night,” he explained.
The event will include live music by J.J. Lavallee, Arnold and Wayne Lucier, Gary Fjellgaard, Perfect Match with Rosetta Paxton, Fagen Furlong, The Great Plains, Al Giddons, Ray Leslie and Pat Myre, and Saenger and Thorne.
There will also be face painting by Catch Eye Marvel, a bouncy castle for the kids, awesome food, a great silent auction that includes a 12-string Yamaha guitar and a raffle draw for a Martin six-string guitar.
The weather is not a deciding factor for the Métis Jamboree.
“All the dancing and music takes place indoors in the McLeese Lake Community Hall,” Lucier noted.
“People can sit out on the patio if they want, but the weather doesn’t matter.”
People often express appreciation for the atmosphere at the Cariboo Chilcotin Métis Jamboree, and Lucier said it’s because it brings back memories of home. “When people hear this old time music it hits home for a lot of people,” he continued.
Award winning Métis fiddler J.J. Lavallee agreed.
“The music and atmosphere at a Métis festival is all about the people and Williams Lake is no exception,” Lavallee stated.
“I believe people come to this particular festival because they want to be here. The host community really does a great job picking top-notch entertainment and providing an authentic Métis experience, from the food and vendors to, of course, the fiddle music.”
He said that Métis fiddle music appeals to people of all ages.
“As an artist, if you are real and play from the heart you will attract the type of audience that loves the style of music you play.
Old time fiddle and classic country music are two genres you don’t hear much anymore, and I think people are missing it,” he added.
“What I want most, when this festival is over, is for people to leave with peace in their hearts and smiles on their faces knowing that they have had so much fun, they want to come back year after year.”
For him the appeal of a small town festival is that it’s more intimate and personal.
“I get a chance to visit with people, and with a small town crowd if you win their hearts you make friends for life.”
The Métis Jamboree takes place Friday, Aug. 12 and Saturday Aug. 13, beginning with breakfast from 7 to 9 a.m. and ending with a final evening performance that starts at 9:40 p.m.