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Local music starts a comeback this summer

Two of the Sunshine Coast’s summer music festivals are back after their live versions were cancelled in 2020, but they’re back with some big compromises due to the lingering pandemic.

Two of the Sunshine Coast’s summer music festivals are back after their live versions were cancelled in 2020, but they’re back with some big compromises due to the lingering pandemic.

The Gibsons Landing Jazz Festival has traditionally enlivened a Friday-to-Sunday weekend in late June. The event would feature close to a dozen acts playing various Gibsons music venues, with a main stage set up on Gower Point Road at Winegarden Park. But not this year.

The 25th Annual Gibsons Landing Jazz Festival will be one, big afternoon show – online and on TV – on Sunday, June 27. Producer Linda Williams said she would have loved to have the festival go live but ran out of time waiting to see if COVID protocols would be eased.

“We had to make the decision by May 15. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have time to do all the recording and put it all together,” Williams said in an interview.

Williams had video recordings made of performances by four jazz ensembles: The Moss Quartet (Anna Lumiere on keys, Graham Ord on sax and flute, Aristazabal Hawkes, upright bass, and drummer Bernie Arai); the School District 46 Chatelech Jazz Band; and singer-songwriter Katherine Penfold with guitarist Scott Verbeek. Closing the show is the Jazz Group of Six, plus one – guest sax player Jon Bentley.

Williams said she made sure the performances have as live a feel as possible, and had to be laid down in one take. “There were no do-overs. They were recorded live from the stage and that was it,” said Williams.

Michael Maser will emcee the virtual festival, which starts at 1 p.m. and should run about three hours, simulcast on Eastlink Community TV, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. The show will remain on those platforms until July 4. To watch online, go to for the links.

Social media comments are encouraged, and donations are certainly welcome, Williams added.

While the festival is free, all musicians are being paid. As an incentive for donors, there will be prize draws, including gift certificates for Gibsons IGA, Painted Boat Spa Experience, Smitty’s Oyster House, and 101 Brewhouse.

The funky, feel-good Rogue Arts Festival, or RogueFest, mounted an online show in 2020, but this summer, it will be live. However, instead of running for three days in late August at a Wilson Creek farm, this year’s festival will be staged at five different outdoor locations over consecutive Saturdays, from July 24 to Aug. 21.

Gatherings are still limited to 50 people, but it’s anticipated that provincial health authorities will expand those limits on July 1. RogueFest’s artistic director, Arwen MacDonald, told Coast Reporter that the shows will go on even if the crowd limits don’t change.

“The two biggest things we’re trying to do is to get money into artists’ and arts-workers’ hands,” said MacDonald. “And giving our community a little bit of reprise. You know what I mean? We all deserve it. We all need it.”

Here’s the rundown, with doors opening for all shows at 6:30 p.m. and music from 7 to 9 p.m. Launching the festival on July 24 on the stage outside Roberts Creek Legion will be a newly formed group of local players called Tongue in Groove, featuring Anna Lumiere, Sarah Noni, Graham Ord, John Rule and Budge Schachte. Opening will be Fer de Lance, with Janet Panic. On July 31, at High Beam Dreams in Gibsons, you can hear bluegrass quartet Kentucky Eileen. On Aug. 7 at the 101 Brewhouse in Gibsons, it will be Brothers in Farms and the “bourbon-soaked dirty blues” of Staggers and Jaggs. On Aug. 14, outside Roberts Creek Hall, folk, soul and reggae artist Buckman Coe performs. And closing the festival on Aug. 21, the high-energy, eight-piece Queer as Funk will do their best to blow the roof off Rockwood Pavilion in Sechelt.

Local artists and artisans have always been a key component of RogueFest, with an onsite gallery and pop-up shops. MacDonald said that tradition will continue, with “a curated, miniature Rogue art gallery,” that will be set up at each venue. Also, the local art company Paintillio will bring a travelling, large mural that festival-goers can help complete at every location.

Tickets to the 2021 Rogue Arts Festival go on sale June 24 at