By Nicole Veerman
The Robson Valley Music Festival in Dunster, B.C. is back for it’s eighth year and it promises to be bigger and better than ever.
“It’s just grown massively every year, with the people coming and the vendors who want to be here and the artists that want to be here. It’s crazy,” said festival organizer Shara Gustafson. “We had just over 600 submissions from performers this year, so everybody wants to play here, which is really, really cool.”
Of those 600 artists, 35 were chosen to take the stage during the three-day event in Gustafson’s front yard.
And, of course, one of those 35 is Gustafson’s reggae band, Mamaguroove.
In the band with her is husband Seth Macdonald on guitar and vocals, Chris Chapman (Macdonald’s cousin) on bass and vocals, Dave McKillican on drums, and David Radies on saxophone.
“It’s definitely one of my favourite venues to play, absolutely,” said Gustafson. “It’s the culmination of the weekend for me and Seth to get up there and perform in our front yard for everybody that we’ve welcomed onto the property.”
Alongside Mamaguroove are bands, musicians and dancers of all styles.
“We’ve got a flamenco dancer, and we’ve got burlesque dancers and belly dancers and some fire dancers.
“There’s something for everybody, that’s for sure. There’s country-folk bands, singer-songwriters, hotonk, rock, reggae, everything. It’s all represented.”
For Gustafson, having that variety is very important. She said it’s a way for people in Dunster, McBride, Valemount and the surrounding areas to see something a little different.
“Especially for our communities, I think it just brings some culture to their backyard that they would never have had a chance to experience.
“It’s pretty cool to bring the world to our little community.”
In the early days, the festival would draw crowds of about 300 to 400 people, but this year, there’s a festival limit of 1,000 people, which Gustafson admits is a lot of people to wake up to on your front yard. But, she said, despite some initial anxiety as people start rolling in, the festival is always “super fun” and by the end, she’s sad to see everyone go.
The three-day event runs from August 17 to 19 and is open to all ages.
To find a full list of performers or to purchase tickets, visit www.robsonvalleymusicfestivalbc.com.