Penticton’s Neil Young ready to rock for Fort McMurray

Kevin Foley takes the stage as Canadian rock legend Neil Young at a fundraiser in Penticton for Fort McMurray evacuees.

For seven years Kevin Foley has been taking the stage as Canadian rock legend Neil Young, now he’s set to perform with fellow tributes to the biggest names in rock ‘n’ roll to raise funds for Fort McMurray relief efforts.

Young’s music has got Foley through some tough times, particularly 1970’s After the Gold Rush and its follow-up Harvest.

“They were very healing albums for me. Just clicking it on to listen to it seemed to heal me in some way,” Foley said.

He decided to learn Heart of Gold one day and everything fell into place.

“The voice was just there without any effort. It was really weird how it just happened. I went and bought a harmonica  and just went from there,” Foleys said.

He couldn’t get the idea to play a tribute to Young at the Centre Stage Theatre in Summerland out of his head. He decided to hire musicians and play the show.

“It was supposed to be kind of a one-time thing. The show was set up like a play to show his life through his music, and then after that phone just wouldn’t stop ringing,” Foley laughed. “We became a band.”

The group stepped directly into the robust Okanagan festival scene.

The tribute, Forever Young, is set to play this year’s Penticton Peach Festival as well as the Rockin’ the Beach Fort McMurray fundraiser at the Barefoot Beach Resort on June 10.

The cause is close to Foley after working in the oil patch in Fort McMurray, and even further north, for years.

“I’ve been there and it’s tough to imagine being displaced from your home and your city for a month or two,” Foley said. “I can’t imagine what those folks are going through.”

Foley is joining fellow tribute artists bringing musical legends to life like Jimi Hendrix (Billy Walker), Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie (Michelle Lawrence and Susan Parenteau) and Jim Morrison/Robert Plant/Jimmy Page (Mason Burns).

“It’s really cool because we get to play on the beach, how cool is that?” Foley said.

Tickets are $25 in advance available at www.experientialtourism.ca/tribute.