Midsummer Music Festival is one of the oldest festivals in the North. Upon having to cancel our 37th festival, our board of directors got to work brainstorming another way forward. Despite the fact that we were all sad that our planned event with acts such as The Northern Cree Singers, Les Fille Des Illighadad, DJ Shub, and Fiver had to be cancelled, we were all exhilarated at the opportunity to think creatively and come up with a new way forward. Here’s what we came up with:
On July 4th, nine artists from Smithers, BC were given a 30min time slot to walk up and down our Mainstreet playing a live show. An outdoor mobile show that commemorated the festivals through our local talent was just what our town needed. We kept promotion minimal in order to not draw too big a crowd, and had minders to ensure all were socially distanced. The event was a great success in spreading the joy of performing and engaging in music.
Elijah Quinn started off the whole show with his guitar and big smiles laying down positivity and joy right away. Our community band came on thereafter with a charging spirit that had people peeking out of shop doors and children dancing wildly through our streets. Horn played next with some of the valley’s most talented musicians coming up with a creative solution to how to play while moving. Grammy award winner Alex Cuba graced our streets next with an incredible and inspiring performance. A dance troupe led by Thoennn Glover took the ‘stage’ next, incorporating the landscape and infrastructure into their choreography. Local accordion player and festival founder Marian Rose was up next with some of the Valley’s most talented violinists. Next, Wet’suwet’en drummers and singers, ‘Ewk Hiyah Hodzli sang and drummed through some of their repertoire with passion and meaning, while in a narrow Alleyway, local ambient noise-band ‘dudley’ played a provocative set. To finish the afternoon, local choral group “The Ringtones” couldn’t stop singing with calls for encores.
What this afternoon gave was joy and creativity, and we were so happy to have been able to have an element of live art after the COVID shutdown. As a festival we are endlessly impressed by the breadth of talent in this small community.