The first Axis Mundi Harvest festival hits Revelstoke this weekend, and for those looking to take it all in, decisions will be made. Do you go to the Banff Mountain Film Festival on Friday, or enjoy the beer gardens and live music in Grizzly Plaza? What about the Last Drop vs. the River City Pub? Do you spend Saturday in town, catching some of the workshops and speakers on hand, or do you head to the Adventure Market in Grizzly Plaza and look for something else to do in the mountains?
The good news for those that are on the fence is that several events are free. so you can get a taste of things before committing financially. Everything on Friday is open to the public, as is the adventure market and Sunday’s 100 Mile food market. All events in Grizzly Plaza and at the United Church are free. Your festival pass, which costs $100, gets you access to the various guest speakers, the music workshops and the main stage shows at Revelstoke Mountain Resort. There’s also a free shuttle bus running to shepherd you to the resort from downtown.
This is my schedule for the weekend. You might want to do something else, so I’ve presented alternatives where they exist. To see the full schedule, visit axismundi.ca.
Friday, September 18
It’s time to leave the office. I’ll be grabbing a burrito at the Taco Club, then enjoying it at Grizzly Plaza where blues singer and harmonic virtuoso Sherman TANK Doucette will be playing with his band. The Rotary Club is hosting a beer garden from 4–10 p.m., so I’ll grab a beer while I’m at it.
It’s off to the Revelstoke Performing Arts Centre for the Banff Mountain Film Festival: Radical Reels show. It’s a collection of the best action-sport films from the film festival. Entrance is not included with an Axis Mundi pass, so you’ll have to pay $20 to get in.
Alternativately, there’s a whole bunch of free shows taking place. Go check out the Nyundo School Roadshow in Grizzly Plaza. This group of Rwandan music students are led by Jacques Murigande, a survivor of the 1994 Rwandan genocide who settled in Ottawa before returning to his homeland to lead the music program. They will be followed by Buckman Coe, who will be playing his brand of soulful, gospel-tinged, psychedelic folk music.
It’s time to leave the theatre at head back downtown, where choices abound. I’ll be at the Last Drop to catch Grounders, a spacey, psychedelic indie-pop group from Toronto.
Alternative: Tequila Mockingbird Orchestra is performing at the River City Pub. This acoustic ensemble draws on all sorts of global roots music, from Spanish flamenco music to African percussion to bluegrass. For a more mellow affair, singer-songwriter Aspen Switzer is at Chubby Funsters, while Rachelle van Zanten will be serenading patrons at the Village Idiot.
Let’s see — do I want to drink and party, or drink and drown my sorrows. If the former, I’ll stay at the Last Drop for pop-rockers The Walkervilles. If the latter, it’s off to the River City Pub for the soulful acoustic tunes of the Rodney Decroo Trio. Alternatively, blues guitarist Les Copeland will be playing at Chubby Funsters, while roots artist Dominique Fraissard is at the Village Idiot.
Saturday, September 19
Time to wake up and head downtown, where I’ll grab a coffee at the Modern and check out the Six String Nation guitar, which will be on display during the day. The guitar is made from 63 items out of Canadian history including wood, bone, metal and stone representing different cultures from across the country. After, I’ll mosey on down to Grizzly Plaza to browse the Adventure Market. I may or may not hang around for Stone Soup, an interactive children’s play by Bev Peacock of the Caravan Farm Theatre, which starts at 11:30 a.m.
I definitely want to watch the lecture by adventurer Jamie Andrew at the United Church. What sets him apart from other alpinists? Well, for one, he lost his hands and feet due to frostbite following a harrowing experience in the French alps in 1999. That didn’t stop him from pursuing his passion, and he’s continued his adventures around the world since then, raising money for charity through his efforts.
Once the lecture is out I’ll walk down the block to the Last Drop where acoustic musician Buckman Coe will be playing a show with electro-DJ Adam Shaikh. Shaikh produced Coe’s latest album, so I’m sure there will be a great dynamic there.
The rest of the afternoon I’ll be taking a break to save up energy for the show at Revelstoke Mountain Resort that night. As a result I’ll be missing a lecture by Olympic gold-medallist Chandra Crawford (3 p.m. at the C3 Church) and another musical team-up, this time between The Walkervilles and TANK Doucette. I will try to make my way to the United Church for the Stone Soup Community Meal before heading to RMR.
It’s time for the main event at the RMR mid-station. Saturday night’s show kicks off at 6 p.m. with Highs, an emerging indie-pop from Ontario. They’re followed by Baskery, a trio of Swedish sisters who will make you swoon with their alt-folk harmonies. At 9:15 p.m., headliners Walk Off the Earth will take the stage. The Toronto quintet have been making a name for themselves with their quirky covers, upbeat pop originals and creative music videos. This might be your best chance to see them before they blow up huge. Once they’re done, Adam Shaikh & the Otherworld Orchestra will take the party late into the night
Sunday, September 20
Time to get out of bed and head downtown to find breakfast and do some shopping at the 100 Mile Harvest — a celebration of local food culture in Grizzly Plaza.
Remember that Six String Nation guitar you saw on display at the Modern? The creators will be at the Revelstoke Performing Arts Centre to tell the story of the guitar, from its conception in 1995, to its official debut on Canada Day 2006, to the many adventures its been on since. If that’s not your thing, Revelstoke’s Greg Hill will be giving a lecture at the C3 Church on his various ski mountaineering exploits and close calls in the backcountry.
I’m hoping to make it see A Million Dollars in Pennies on the Last Drop patio. This Shuswap folk duo have played Revelstoke many times and their shows are always enjoyable.
It’s back to the performing arts centre for a lecture by Severn Cullis-Suzuki, a cultural and environmental activist and writer. Individual tickets for this show are available for $20 at the Axis Mundi office at 204 Campbell Ave.
The bike will come in handy as I zip back to the Last Drop for the Trad to Rad workshop featuring Canadian fiddler Ashley MacIsaac and Swedish folk-trio Baskery. The workshop will look at how these artists weave traditional folk music into contemporary compositions.
It’s time to head back to Revelstoke Mountain Resort for what promises to be a fun night. Little Hurricane, a bluesy rock duo, will kick things off and have you thinking of bands like the White Stripes and the Black Keys. They are followed by Sticky Fingers, an Australian rock group known for their rowdy and wild shows. Canadian fiddler Ashley MacIsaac headlines the evening, while electro duo The Floozies will keep the party going late into the night.