Call it Axis Muddy. Call it Revelstock.
The first Axis Mundi Festival has come and gone and the verdict is in: the lineup, the vibe, the performances were all outstanding. Now it’s just a matter of getting out the crowds.
Revelstoke was witness to many great performances over the weekend. There was Walk Off the Earth, who showed why they might just be the next big thing in Canadian pop with their polished and energetic set at Revelstoke Mountain Resort on Saturday. Sure, it was pouring rain and the front of the stage was a giant mud pit, but that just added to the atmosphere and it didn’t seem to stop anyone from having fun.
There was the Nyundo School Roadshow, a collection of talented young singers and musicians from Rwanda who delivered a series of inspiring performances throughout the festival, starting with their revelatory set in Grizzly Plaza on Friday.
There was Tequila Mockinbird Orchestra at the River City Pub, followed by The Walkervilles at the Last Drop. Both bands packed their respective venues, with a lineup to get in the latter. At the Drop, the dance floor was hopping and the crowd wouldn’t let the band stop playing until they ran out of songs.
There was Saturday afternoon’s show at the Last Drop, when Buckman Coe, DJ Adam Shaikh and members of the Nyundo School played a grooving jam together.
There was Jamie Andrews, who delivered a riveting talk on Saturday at the C3 Church that was a mix of a harrowing adventure story and an inspirational tale over-the-coming-the-odds. He lost his hands and feet to frostbite while climbing a peak in the French Alps in 1999, but he pushed himself to keep pursuing his passions despite his disabilities.
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There was Swedish alt-folk trio Baskery, who could really play, and really sing. On Saturday, the three sisters put on a rocking show at RMR. On Sunday, they took the stage at the Last Drop for an intimate performance alongside Canadian fiddling icon Ashley MacIsaac. They traded songs, joining in on each other’s work. And then, at the end, the girls closed it off with a traditional Swedish song that demonstrated their beautiful vocal harmonies.
There was Adam Shaikh and the Outerworld Orchestra, who got people dancing in the quagmire that was the field in front of the main stage at RMR after Walk Off the Earth left the stage. The Nelson-based DJ was joined by a full band and two dancers; unfortunately, most people missed out on arguably the most interesting performance of the night.
There was Severn Cullis-Suzuki, who did her best to inspire people to activism with a talk at the Revelstoke Performing Arts Centre.
There was a huge effort to move the stage indoors when lightning and mud resulted in a safety hazard Sunday night. Blues-rock duo Little Thunder were more than able to fill the room. They were followed by Sticky Fingers, who the clear favourite of Revelstoke’s Australian contingent.
There was MacIsaac, who took the stage at RMR and promptly shredded his fiddle bow to pieces and got the crowd dancing with his revved up versions of traditional songs.
There was great vibes and great times. I didn’t talk to anyone who attended the festival who was disappointed with the performances.
The only thing there wasn’t was the big crowds organizers hope for. The smaller attendance made for a more intimate festival, which is great for those who were there but not so great for the organizers.
However there was a sense that what took place on the weekend will spur more people to buy tickets for the Solstice festival next June.