By Glenn Alderson
If you’re looking for something cooler than being cool — even cooler than ice cold — we suggest you consider taking a trip to interior British Columbia to check out Rossland’s annual Blizzard Music Festival. What started as an extension of the Rossland Winter Carnival, one of the oldest winter carnivals in Canada, has continued to build on its success, bringing three days of music to the small West Kootenay town that is otherwise known for its remote beauty and monumental Red Mountain Ski Resort.
Blizzard Fest was founded by local musicians Gabe Gaudet and Johnny Provencal (The Toques, The Sons) who then passed the torch on to Daniel D’amour, the festival’s event coordinator. D’amour has been overseeing operations of the festival for the last six years and it has been gaining in notoriety year after year.
“We try to book quite an eclectic festival to reflect the diverse range of Kootenay concertgoers,” says D’Amour” The ability to get to see some of the raddest bands in a small town, in some more intimate venues is pretty special. A lot of the time you aren’t able to take in a performance by the artists we are booking in these smaller spaces, it makes the experience that much better.”
This year the festival is showcasing more than 25 acts to perform at 10 different stages January 24 to 26. Acts like Shred Kelly have been a mainstay on the Canadian touring circuit and they also happen to be the ultimate après ski band, hailing from Fernie, B.C. The band is the natural headliner alongside Vancouver favourites the Boom Booms, the Courtneys, and two-time JUNO award winning songwriter Old Man Luedecke. Of course, with 25 acts, there is also a discovery element to the three days of music, shining a light on some up and coming acts such as Dead Soft, who recently released a ’90s grunge infused EP on Arts & Crafts, Edmonton’s punishingly heavy Black Mastiff and Shambhala favourites, the electronic blues-infused Moontrick.
“What’s exciting about this year’s festival is that we have more cooperation than ever from all the hosting venues in town. Because of that, we are going to be able to offer the festivalgoer 10 different stages to check out. With each stage’s line up carefully curated to fit the atmosphere of the venue,” says D’Amour.
D’Amour is also the general manager at local gastropub the Flying Steamshovel, a go-to destination for live music, excellent comfort food and a great selection of beers on tap.
You can tell a great deal of time, energy and commitment is put in to the curation of Blizzard Music Festival’s annual music celebration and with D’Amour’s connections to the community, he’s grooming the ultimate après ski experience to make it a weekend you certainly won’t forget.
“We only have 3,000 or so residents, but there are such a diverse mix of humans here. The town is also so close to Red Mountain Ski resort,” says D’Amour. “It’s a hidden gem out here in the West Kootenays.”
Blizzard Music Festival takes place in Rossland, B.C. January 24 to 26. For more information, visit https://www.blizzardmusicfest.com/