By Adam Rogers
August 19-21, 2016
ROCK CREEK, B.C. — The wonderful Ponderosa Festival rocked Rock Creek, B.C. over mid-month weekend in August. With the disappointment of last year’s event being cancelled due to devastating wildfires, it was of great relief that this year we were able to bask in the blissful sunshine, righteous landscape, and take in the best music B.C. has to offer.
With an array of artists playing across two stages, there were plenty of differing sounds to keep everyone in attendance entertained. From the jazz-infused reggae of Giraffe Aftermath, or the bizarre yet wonderful glitchy hip hop duo from Victoria, Cathedral Boom, to the sweet folk duo Twin Bandit. All the acts who performed were excellent, with aid from the impressive sound set-ups for both stages.
There were notable standouts, Dirty Spells helped kick off the first night appearing second that evening, storming through a set that can only be described as really fucking spooky. The Spells’ Emily Bach stealing the show with a fantastic performance on violin. Timber Timbre headlined Friday and, from the spooky, we went to the darn-right creepy with lead singer Taylor Kirk pulling this off all by himself with his weird demeanour, his slicked-back, almost-greasy hair and that sultry voice. At one moment during the set, Taylor, looking out from his stage with the huge full moon in his sights, asks the crowd to turn around and look at it. Was a decision I think he came to regret, as for the next few minutes all you could hear was the sound of wolf whistles whilst a confused Taylor looked on from the stage.
Louise Burns and her band were outstanding on the Saturday afternoon, and with Dada Plan, The Pack A.D., followed by Black Mountain, the Saturday night billing was a treat to say the least. All were unbelievable: Dada Plan with their “everyday technological” theory, unexpected chaos within the smooth synth melodies, rock, pop, and general ridiculousness got the crowd in one hell of a good mood, The Pack A.D. showing why they are one of the best live bands around with their garage rock wall of sound coming from just two instruments, and then of course Black Mountain; what hasn’t been said before about these guys and their live show? It was another epic set, and for me the highlight was the beautiful vocals of Amber Webber, and the rest is a bonus!
Sunday kicked off with a nice touch. Joanne Stacey who has released several records as a singer-songwriter won the K96-3 demo programme, which won her the opening slot of Sunday’s bill. She produced a set of laidback folky vibes that were perfect for those struggling from the night before. Youngblood played a gorgeous set in the late Sunday afternoon sun. And to dance party the festival out, LA Grooveolucion tore up the main stage and brought to a close an epic weekend of sounds.
Aside from the music being fantastic, the festival’s location is what really makes it so special. Being able to sit in the Kettle River, which is situated right next to the campsite was fantastic given the heat. The festival put on a shuttle bus to take people down the river to be dropped off to float back to the campsite! Great art and great food vendors were also in attendance, along with some games to play on the big grassed area. Lots of credit goes to the event organizers Kris, Kia and their wonderful friendly team. They work tirelessly over the weekend to keep everything running smoothly, and Kris and Kia do their utmost to get around and engage with the diverse crowd in attendance.
The festival seems like a well-kept secret, due to its size, location and obvious attention to detail, although the secret seems like it has begun to get out.BC, British Columbia, Ponderosa Festival, Ponderosa Festival 2016