Arts on the Fly did not disappoint.
When asked Saturday evening what they were enjoying the most about being there, without hesitation many festival-goers said it was the relaxed atmosphere, the beautiful location by the Horsefly River, the people and the talent.
Artistic director and sound technician Brandon Hoffman said about 900 people attended the festival.
“It went fantastically,” said Brandon Hoffman, one of the festival’s artistic directors and sound technicians.
“There are always a few hiccups here and there, but all of the artists made it, except for one. Everybody played great and the sound for the most part was good.”
With over 34 acts, the festival offered four venues stages spread out within walking distance of the community hall.
“It was a mix of atmosphere, depending on what people were looking for,” Hoffman said.
As he got ready for the Vancouver-based psychedelic pop band Ponytails to take the River Stage Saturday evening, sound man Bill Irwin said the weekend was going great.
Irwin owns Solar and Sound and created a solar powered sound system.
Pointing behind him toward the Horsefly River, he showed where he’d placed solar panels on the pebbled beach for the system.
“It’s a direct current that gets stored in the batteries,” Irwin explained.
“A power inverter takes that direct current and transforms it into alternating current just like you would have coming out of your house which is what band equipment and all that stuff runs on.”
Irwin has been in the business of installing solar panels so he built the system, which is the similar to what he uses in his own home, he said.
Hoffman said the River Stage was a huge hit.
“There were a few shows there that had a really great draw,” he said.
Horsefly’s own Juno-Award winning couple Jason and Pharis Romero played a set in the community hall Saturday evening in front of a standing-room only crowd.
The Romeros shared songs from their latest album, Sweet Old Religion.
“We’ve got CDs for sale and have our latest album on vinyl as well because we love records,” Pharis said.
At one point, Pharis invited her musician siblings Cole, Ciel and Marin Patenaude and Brent Morton onto the stage to perform one of the new songs – You Are a Shining Light – with them.
The harmonies sent chills up the spine and garnered a loud and enthusiastic applause from the audience.
“I love these guys,” Pharis said afterwards.
During the Vancouver-based jazz ensemble, Ladies of Company B performance on the main stage, they invited the stage manager to join them in singing Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.
When MNGWA played the main stage Saturday, within minutes many in the crowd were up dancing.
Self-described as rooted in Afro-Latin soul of Cumbia — rhythm and dance from Colombia — MNGWA told the audience it had five musicians from Russia, two from Mexico and one from Canada.
As the temperatures dipped down to 5C Saturday evening, the Melbourne, Australia duo This Way North’s guitarist/vocalist Leisha Jungalwalia asked the crowd if they were cold.
“We’re here to get you guys dancing and warmed up,” she said, adding the crowd was dancing in a way that suggested they’d been in the hot sun all day.
Arts on the Fly was cancelled in 2017 due to the wildfires and in 2016 when the board took a hiatus.
Hoffman said it takes an army of about 55 volunteers to run the festival and he’s confident it will be back in 2019.