The South Okanagan desert is about to come alive with the sound of music this weekend.
Desert Live Music Festival, June 27 to July 1, features over 20 Canadian bands performing at Gyro Beach in Osoyoos. And, the best part is it is all free. Reggae, funk, soul, blues, rock and roll and more all will be complementing the hot weather over the long weekend.
“It’s the perfect location for it because of the backdrop,” said Mike Campol, chair of the music festival committee. “To pull a concert off like this with Gyro Beach in the backdrop, vineyards, orchards, mountains and beautiful lakes, I don’t think you can beat it.”
Campol, who was a live music venue owner when he lived in Ontario, relocated to Osoyoos three years ago and said he, “quickly decided I never wanted to go back.” A fan of multiple genres of music, he wanted to help establish a festival that was family friendly.
“The goal of the festival is to create an exceptional experience for visitors and local residents,” said Campol. “We want to create a space where you can relax with your friends or family, have a beer and allow the music to breathe new life through Canada’s only desert.”
Campol said another thing of importance was to feature all-Canadian acts.
“We want 100 per cent Canadian content to showcase not only Canada’s only desert but all the talent we have in this country. Having purely Canadian bands also opens up potential for funding down the road,” he said.
Headliners for the five-day free festival include West Coast reggae-rockers Redeye Empire, indie-rockers Yukon Blonde, blues-rock band No Sinner and reggae artists Tasman Jude. Also playing gigs are Penticton’s Ari Neufeld and Aidan and Mandy.
From the initial Desert Live committee meeting last year, Campol has had the backing of the community.
He said stakeholders have been very supportive and are excited to introduce a new tourism attraction to Osoyoos.
“We have had huge interest from outside of the town and are expecting a big turnout. I think we not only will see a lot of locals coming but people from Vancouver and the Kootenays,” said Campol.
The festival also has other events tying into it, including an art exhibit in Town Square, The Beagles playing at The Sage Pub, a music and art show at JoJo’s Cafe, Crosstown Bus performing at Sprit Beach Bar and Grill, Paul Filek at Golden Chopsticks, Uno Mas at Walnut Beach resort, the Rotary Pancake Breakfast and the Cherry Fiesta Parade.
Desert Live kicks off on Friday from 3 to 10 p.m. From June 28 to July 1 (Canada Day) it will run from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
“We are very supportive of this musically diverse premiere event that will lead into our fantastic July 1 celebration and our nationally recognized fireworks display,” said Osoyoos Mayor Stu Wells.
For more information on the festival visit www.desertlive.ca.