Entertainment at this weekend’s Sea Festival will have a distinctly local flavour, according to musician-entrepreneur Jim Black, who is once again co-ordinating musical acts for the organizing White Rock Events Society.
“I switched everything to local entertainment this year,” he said.
He said that’s even with the presence of Saturday night Main Stage headliners The Powder Blues Band (8 p.m.), who – while Vancouver-based – are cementing their reputation as White Rock favourites with a third year at the event.
“They’re very popular with a big segment of our market,” he said. “I think the band fits, for sure.”
There’s another benefit to booking such an established, high-level act, Black noted – the band’s stage requirements give a boost to all the other acts on the bill.
“Once you get the Powder Blues’ stage, it brings you up a notch,” he said. “Everybody else gets to ride on that stage.”
And White Rock has no shortage of talent to fill the festival’s musical venues – the Main Stage beside the pier and the white rock and the Spirit Stage – Black added.
“There are whole bands from here – there’s a real network going and a lot of them are people that don’t even play every year.”
Among well-known local acts featured on the Main Stage this Saturday are Curtis Heimburger’s Switch To Black (1 p.m.); Black’s own collective, featuring Matt Skepasts, Andrew Skepasts and Brandon Lin (3 p.m.); The Wheat In The Barley (6 p.m. and Jasion Buie (7 p.m.).
A Sunday noon showcase of Peninsula Arts Foundation winners features such up and coming acts as Alexis Lynn, Ava Carich and Fionn; while acts later in the day include Beyond The Eyes (1 p.m.); Fanny Starchild (2 p.m.), a music and movement session with Ben Brown featuring a Chinese Village Club dance showcase (3 p.m.), Randy Schultz’s Swamp City (5 p.m.); Heidi McCurdy (6 p.m.); Sarah Jickling and her Good Bad Luck (7 p.m.) and Terence Jack (8 p.m.)
White Rock and South Surrey are certainly getting a name in the business as a breeding ground of new talent, Black said, partly because of the emphasis on music at Semiahmoo Secondary, Elgin Park and Earl Marriott, and also because of the level of private lessons, workshops for young performers, and the number of open mic opportunities available.
“A lot of the music happening in Greater Vancouver is coming from White Rock – you look at any of the big bands and there are usually one or two members who came from out here.”
That’s also going to be highlighted with the Spirit Stage line-up – a great which will include Richard Tichelman at 4 p.m. Saturday and Carich at 4 p.m. Sunday, along with other emerging local talents, including Ben Dunnill (4:25 p.m. Sunday).
“This year I’ve given some younger guys the authority to both book and run the stage – this is hopefully the start of a really cool thing,” Black said.
“(Semiahmoo First Nation councillor) Joanne Charles has been really supportive of this – the salmon barbecuse is super important – and the kids are getting experience they wouldn’t get at an open mic,” he added.
“They’re getting on a real stage.”