A Sunshine Coast arts festival that exuberantly defies classification is returning to its original format in mid-August after two years of COVID curtailment.
The 7th annual Rogue Fest will take place from Aug. 19 to 21 at the family-run Clarke Farm in Wilson Creek.
The multidisciplinary event will include musical sets from at least 14 distinct performers and groups, including hard rock choristers and a theremin soloist. Two interactive painting experiences will exhibit local artists at work in cooperation with festival attendees, creating original artworks at the festival site.
Arwen MacDonald, the festival’s artistic and executive director, has worked for 25 years in the event promotion industry. She was involved in organizing the inaugural Rogue Fest in 2016.
“This type of festival format is a brilliant avenue for community building,” she said. “Being onsite for three days, with multi-genres of music, and all the arts — we were missing that on the Coast. So myself and a killer team of people decided we were going to do it ourselves, and here we are.”
The festival is run by a non-profit organization, the Coast Rogue Arts Society, with a mandate to increase the well-being of the Sunshine Coast through the arts.
In 2020, due to COVID health orders, the festival moved to a video-only format. Last year, the event was broken into separate components to limit audience sizes. The 2022 festival returns to its original schedule and location.
“I always describe Rogue by saying we have the wolf in our logo,” said MacDonald. “The wolf is either known for traveling in a pack or being a loner. Either way, people are welcome at Rogue. You’re going to find your pack or you can go off on the corner.”
Musical guests will include a number of Sunshine Coast performers, among them the Latin and cabaret quartet Mimosa and Janet Panic, a Bohemian-Métis, folk-pop singer-songwriter. Local music educator Steve Wright and Spade Hoile will perform as SPāDE, complemented by a hard rock choir for vocal accompaniment.
The Sunshine Coast Complaints Choir will perform the world premiere of compositions by Wright which were inspired by real-life complaints submitted by community members.
Vancouver-based guitarist, singer and brewer Chris Booth will join drummer and blacksmith Kelly Backs of Roberts Creek as the Blacksmith & Brewer Duo, performing nostalgic punk and progressive rock.
Stephen Hamm, a veteran of groups including Nardwuar and The Evaporators, will deliver a solo set on the theremin. The electronic instrument is played without any physical contact. Its sound is immediately recognizable to fans of vintage sci-fi movie soundtracks.
Juno award-winning DJ Shub is scheduled to deliver his signature brand of PowWowStep — dubstep injected with Indigenous themes and rhythms. Shub is a Mohawk from the Six Nations of the Grand River in Ontario whose latest album includes collaborations with the Snotty Nosed Rez Kids, the Haisla hip-hop duo from Kitimat.
Sunshine Coast artists Marlene Lowden and Vanessa Tomada will lead the participatory Freedom to Paint demonstration. A collaborative paint-by-number project, supported by the Paintillio company, is being directed by Tahltan artist Levi Purjue. Purjue was born in Haida Gwaii and currently resides on the Coast.
According to MacDonald, volunteers are still needed and can enlist to serve in hospitality roles, in the box office, and other positions.
A full festival lineup, ticket sales and information about volunteer opportunities are available online at roguefest.ca.