Sunshine Coast songstress Deanna Knight has a great story about fellow singer-songwriter Valdy. And it does help explain how Knight managed to book the Juno-winning folkie for opening night in the 2021 series of music shows in her big backyard – even though he might play for as few as 50 people.
As Knight told Coast Reporter, there was a chance encounter 20 years ago after she’d decided to make the big move from Ontario to B.C. It had been a tough call. “I was leaving all my friends, family, everything behind,” Knight remembered. But she pressed ahead. When she finally boarded the Vancouver-bound aircraft, she found that her seatmate for the flight would be Valdy, a fellow musician she certainly knew about, but had never met.
“It was a quick friendship,” she said. “We realized that we knew a lot of the same people. He was just so sweet. And we had four and a half hours to chat and get to know each other. So, I took that as a huge blessing and a sign that I was making the right move.”
More positive signs were to come, as Knight landed a good job quickly and met up with a band, Hot Club of Mars, whose singer, as it happened, had just moved to Ontario. She got that job, too. “I was like, ‘OK, this is gonna be all right.’”
Things have been all right. Knight, who moved to the Coast in 2017, now is producing her third string of weekly summer concerts during July and August, which this year she’s calling the SoulShine Garden Concert Series. Scheduled for Thursday evenings from 7 to 9 p.m., the shows will be set on a stage in the yard behind her and her husband’s Grandview Road home and accommodation business, Secret Beach B&B Suites.
Valdy kicks it all off on July 1. In following weeks, Knight will welcome local and Vancouver-based groups, including her own Deanna Knight Tree-O; the Chris Ronald Trio; the zany Myrtle Sisters; The Burying Ground; Dawn Pemberton; and Oliver Swain. Finishing up the series on Aug 26 is Deanna with the Hot Club of Mars.
Current COVID protocols allow a maximum of 50 people at gatherings, including audience, artists, and support staff. But as of July 1, B.C. is scheduled to move to Step 3 of its restart plan, and that would mean more can gather. Just how many more is yet to be announced. Knight is ready.
“In the past, we’ve had 75 here. We could definitely fit a few more. I’d probably cap off at about 90,” said Knight.
Tickets are on sale now at 604-362-1280. The price is a “suggested artist donation of $25 and up.”