Barney Bentall headlines the Whatshan Lake Family & Music Festival (July 6–8).

Kootenays (and beyond) summer music festivals guide

Your guide to 2012 music festivals in the Kootenays and beyond.

Black Press

It seems many Revelstokians will have to travel a little further out of town for their summer 2012 music festival experience.

For the past several years, the Nakusp Music Fest was a popular summer retreat into the Kootenays, but organizers pulled the plug earlier this year, citing financial difficulties.

Although rumour has pronounced it dead, organizers say the Revelstoke Music Festival may be back this year, including some new faces getting involved. However, organizer John Bragg says the weekend festival is “up in the air” at this point. Some upcoming meetings will sort out if it goes ahead, likely much later in the season than the late-June 2011 affair that featured the Sheepdogs.

So, to help you with your summer festival planning, here’s info on Kootenay (and beyond) music festivals on offer this summer season.

~Aaron Orlando

Kaslo Jazz Etc. Festival

This intimate, world-class, family-friendly festival has been host to big names and newly discovered gems of the entertainment business since 1991.

Jazz may be in the festival’s name but it doesn’t end there.

Many acts who have performed on the floating stage included blues, funk, soul, world, Latin and jazz bands.

This year the Kaslo Jazz Etc. Fest will host talent like Bessie and the Back Eddies, Hornography and the Laura Landsberg Band. The Taj Mahal will also launch the weekend on Friday, August 3.

The venue’s unique location provides festival patrons with natural amphitheatre surrounded by pristine wilderness to enjoy while watching the performances on the floating stage nestled on the shoreline of Kootenay Lake.

Great music and an intimate beautiful setting is the Kaslo Jazz Etc. Festival.

The event runs from August 3–5.

In 2007, USA Today said, “Big mountains, small village, floating stage… the vibe of Kaslo is intimately amazing … with pristine wilderness as a backdrop, the musicians are perched on the edge of Kootenay Lake while onlookers swim around the stage, dance in the sand or recline on blankets laid in a natural, green amphitheatre.”

For more information on the Kaslo Jazz Etc. Festival and the full line-up visit their website at

Shambhala Music Festival

Shambhala Music Festival began in the summer of 1998 when approximately 500 people gathered at the Salmo River Ranch.

Over the years, the festival grew organically by word of mouth – friends bringing friends to create a community built upon Shambhalove.

In 2010, for the first time, they reached their 10,000 guest capacity. In 2011 the festival saw its first sell-out in advance of  gates opening. Online tickets for Shambhala 2012 sold out in just 17 days, in November 2011.

Shambhala is a family-owned business. Farm owners Rick and Sue Bundschuh’s three children produce the festival. Jimmy, the youngest, is the executive producer. Anna, the middle child, and Corrine, the eldest, are the producers.

Shambhala is held annually in early August, and this year runs from August 8–13. The event boasts six uniquely themed stages, each managed by their own stage director.

Each books their talent, dreams the scene and delivers a cutting edge experience unlike any other.

Shambhala aims to bring the best in up and coming electronic music talent from around the globe.

This year the festival will host Pretty Lights, Chali 2na, Delhi 2 Dublin, the Leisure Gang, Funkanomics, Adham Shaikh, Gisto and Yan Zombie.

Above all, Shambhala is a celebration of music, art and life.

To see a full line-up for all the stages and more on the history and people behind the festival visit their website

Whatshan Lake Music & Family Festival

Just across the Arrow Lake on the Needles ferry is the much warmer Whatshan Lake, home to the Whatshan Lake Retreat and the Whatshan Music & Family Festival, held on July 6–8 this year.

This festival is known for its family atmosphere and, of course, its exceptional custom-designed outdoor sound stage. The permanent stage features prominently amongst the several cabins and buildings at the retreat.

This year’s headliner is  Juno award winner Barney Bentall. The Kimberlites will keep the outdoor venue abuzz, combining strong vocal harmonies and unique instrumentation into a party driving mix of rocking Celtic-Cajun-Zydeco.

The festival also features blues and roots musician Darren Johnson, Victoria, B.C.-base alternative foot-stomping folk artists Good For Grapes, Trail, B.C. bluegrass, country and blues artist Jason Thomas, electric violinist Henry Small, the Fire Valley Band, Rough Pearl, Allan “Dr. Electric” Markin and Dave Scanlan.

Visit for more.

Wapiti Music Festival

Fernie’s Wapiti Music Festival is back on the scene for their second year, promising a line-up of Canadian talent that could top last year.

For their first year Wapiti featured acts like Fernie’s Shred Kelly, Elliott Brood, Said The Whale, Library Voices and Yukon Blond.

This year The Boom Booms, The British Columbians, Cuff the Duke, The Zolas, The Belle Game and Michael Rault are among those to take the stage.

The 2012 Wapiti Music Festival kicked off ticket sales with an unprecedented turn sell out of early bird tickets in just one day. Advance tickets are now on sale for $45.

Advance tickets are only on sale until August First or while quantities last.

Tickets can be purchased in Fernie and online via

Stay tuned to their website every month for more exciting band announcements.

Wapiti runs two days, August 10 and 11.

Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival

The Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival has been the host to some of the world’s most amazing performers.

From Buddy Guy to Feist and Johnny Winter, there is no doubt that Salmon Arm is able to draw music lovers to the shores of Shuswap Lake for this great showcase of talent.

This year from August 17–19, festival goers will be able to see acts like Serena Ryder, Cuff the Duke, Blackie and The Rodeo Kings, Alex Cuba, The Trews, and Shred Kelly.

Now in its 20th year, the Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival is the largest and most diverse festival in the Interior of British Columbia and has gained a solid reputation for its top quality presentations and organization.

The festival began in 1992 as a small indoor festival, a result of the Shuswap Coffee House movement of the 1970s and ‘80s, which in 1991 had re-invented itself as the not-for-profit Salmon Arm Folk Music Society.

For more information on the Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival and their full line up visit

Sync Music Festival

Back for its second year, Sync Festival is located 39 kilometres from Golden in the Columbia Valley.

Sync showcases some of the best names in dance culture and electronic dance music.

This summer at the Beaverfoot Lodge you can see favourites like Mochipet, Yan Zombie, Deeps, Wakcutt, Tommy Largo and more.

Sync runs from June 1–4 and tickets are still available for this unique festival experience.

In addition to music there is hiking, swimming and even two Swedish-style hot rock saunas.

For more on Sync visit their website at

Starbelly Jam Music Festival

One day 13 years ago, some of Crawford Bay’s culturally creative citizenry were hanging out at Starbelly Beach, twiddling their toes in the water and basking in the sun, wondering what they could do to liven things up and celebrate how wonderful it all was.

It must have been an idea whose time had come, because one thing led to another and before anyone realized what was happening, Starbelly Jam Music Festival was born!

Starbelly Jam continues to be put on by a community-minded group of volunteers, from the tireless core committee to the many other local people who freely give their time and expertise to make this the cultural event of the year for the East Shore of Kootenay Lake.

This year the Starbelly Jam Festival includes acts like Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk, Gaudi, The Barr

This festival’s success is all about the celebration of life though music, friendship and having a fun time for all in a safe and secure environment. Not too big and not too small.

Starbelly runs from July 20–22 in Crawford Bay.

For more information on tickets and the full line-up visit the festival website at

Loki Festival Music Festival

Loki Music Festival is located in the beautiful lush mountain area of Kaslo.

Free camping and stunning scenery make this the ultimate July long weekend getaway.

The festival runs from July 30 to July 2.

Being Loki’s fifth year they have decided to do a 100 per cent Canadian line-up on the Canada Day weekend featuring headliners Longwalkshortdock, Subvert, Stickybuds, Neon Steve, Mark Instinct, Emotionz and Stylust with live band, Knight Riderz, Glitchy and Scratchy, Bryx vs Wakcutt, and about 30 more artists with a wide array of sounds and musical styles from across Canada, all powered up by a 50,000 watt PK sound system.

The Loki stage invites you and sucks you in with amazing original artwork, stunning visuals, custom dancing platforms, state of the art lighting and effects, and dance performances by professional groups from coast to coast.

Sunday afternoon will feature a live hip hop showcase with art and dance exhibits.

Come see why Loki is talked about as one of B.C.’s best new electronic music festivals. Visit for more.

Tiny Music Festival

Mark June 16 on your calendar and head out to Ymir for the Tiny Lights Festival.

Tiny Lights highlights everything from music to visual arts to theatre and more.

During the day there will be performances, workshops, a market and kids’ activities.

The evening will bring musical experiences for a mature crowd.

Ymir is a tiny town and space in the night-time is limited, so plan early to avoid disappointment.

This year’s musical showcase includes Maria in the Shower, the Steve Brockley Band, E.S.L. Hannah Epperson, James Lamb and more.

Local funnyman Lucas Myers will take the stage as part of the theatre festivities.

There will be art from Marla Thirsk, Julie St. John and Mia Sandner.

Ymir has so much to offer on festival day.

You will have access to five historic venues, amazing history tours, workshops for kids and adults and much more.

For more information on the Tiny Lights Festival visit

Unity Music Festival

The Slocan Valley Cultural Alliance presents Unity Music Festival in Winlaw on August 24 and 25.

This year’s line-up features music from Shred Kelly, Sweatshop Union, DJ Trippa T, Shades of Loud, Wolfpack, Lokal Motif and Vortex.

Enjoy the last days of summer at the grounds of Sleep is for Sissies with great music, art and more.

There is camping available near the festival grounds.

For more information about Unity Festival visit

Sasquatch Music Festival

Since 2002, Music lovers from around North America have packed their bags and set off for the Gorge Amphitheatre in George, Washington, which hosts the Sasquatch Music Festival.

Sasquatch has grown ever since then from a one-day festival featuring seven musical acts including the String Cheese Incident, Jack Johnson and Ben Harper to a four day music pilgrimage.

The event is presented by the House of Blues with the intention of highlighting indie rock bands and singer/songwriters but now regularly includes hip hop, rock, alternative and even comedy.

The Gorge Amphitheatre is located on the edge of the Columbia River as it winds its way through Washington, creating a one of a kind music venue.

Festival-goers camp out near the Gorge and make a daily trek to the festival grounds to enjoy what has now become a four day music extravaganza.

This year’s festival is May 25 to 28 and features music from Beck, Jack White, Metric, The Sheepdogs, Feist, Bon Iver, The Cave Singers, Pretty Lights and more.


Littlefest at Little Slocan Lodge is not returning for 2012.



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