What makes the Midsummer Music Festival so special is that it is put on by the Bulkley Valley Folk Music Society, an organization of musicians in and around Smithers, BC. In addition to the 20 or so acts they brought in from around Canada, about 50 of the performers at the festival were local - many of them the organizers themselves.
Another thing that makes this festival so special is the scale. Now in its 35th year, the organizers know what kind of party they want to throw. When in previous years the festival started to grow too big, the organizers gave grants to neighbouring communities to start more festivals, seeding a festival circuit across Northern BC, and shrinking their own festival to a size that nurtures their community without overwhelming it.
We were honoured to be invited to play this year. We arrived on Friday and set up camp. That evening we played sing-along songs and told stories around a campfire in the children's area of the festival while kids roasted marshmallows.
On Saturday we got to enjoy the festival and see a lot of incredible talent from the Bulkley Valley. That evening we played an "in betweener" next to the main stage as The Kwerks finished their set and Zimbamoto set up. The side stage didn't have inputs for all of our instruments so we played with acoustic guitars and hand percussion, and shared two vocal mics between us.
We opened in a mellow way with "Tomato Jungle", but really got the crowd's attention with "I Like It Saucy", and kept it for three more songs. It was a great opportunity to introduce ourselves to the audience and preview our main set the next day at the Children's Stage.
On Sunday as we set up for our show all kinds of people starting finding seats; not just kids and parents, but teenagers and seniors, too. It was truly an all ages crowd!
Here's a video of our second number of the set, just as we and the crowd were getting warmed up:
We loved playing at the Midsummer Music Festival and the experience of journeying to a place we'd never been, stopping in small towns along the way. The best part was meeting all of the musicians that call this beautiful place home, watching their shows and listening to their songs.
We hope to visit Northern BC again soon.
Love always, The Oot n' Oots
P.S. Here's some more pics from the side stage: