BC’s best indie at summer’s end festival

The exciting new open-air Ponderosa festival took place last weekend at the Rock Creek fairgrounds.

There were many great acts that took to the stage at the first Ponderosa Arts and Music Festival last weekend.

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The first annual Ponderosa Arts and Music Festival is now a reality.

The exciting new open-air festival took place last weekend at the Rock Creek fairgrounds.

Music for the weekend ranged from reggae, folk, rock and roll, to electronic dj’s.

Organizers Kris Hargrave and Kia Zahrabi aspire to make Ponderosa an annual event that brings those who love music and fresh air back to the Kettle Valley each year.

“We want to show more people what this beautiful part of BC has to offer,” said Zahrabi.

Local talent appeared too. The Underpaid Sideman are a pair (Don “Max” Lindeman and Tofauna Lisa Tunold) of experienced musicians who gave up life in the big city to enjoy rural life on Anarchist Mountain. They opened on Saturday afternoon.

Another group, Great White North had local Travis Eek – as well as Sid Ruhland, whose family has started the Fire Hall Brewery in Oliver.

Close Talker – one of the headline bands brought to Rock Creek – is listed number 15 on the CBC top 30 Canadian indie songs list for the week of August 30, 2013.

Festival organizers brought in a trailer that opened like a Transformer to become a full-size concert stage. During the afternoon sessions the music alternated between that and the fairground dais, which was dubbed the Pinecone Stage.

Food venders were on site – Dave Soroka from Grand Forks with his Festival Espresso trailer plus Thai on the Fly from Penticton and a Smoking Hot Donairs wagon.

Comments from performers and audience alike were favorable. Many appreciated having the river so close at hand so they could go down and cool off in the middle of the day.

Zahrabi and Hargrave said they are happy with the result in their first year. “Now people know this is what’s happening and if you want to have a good time come to Ponderosa next year,” said Zahrabi.

Hargrave grew up in Bridesville. The pair did most of the work to get the festival up and running – from booking bands to designing websites and banners to putting up posters.

The musicians were enthusiastic in their praise of the festival. Hugh Macdonald from the band Facts said that members of the various bands that came were some of the best bands you could pick.

He was very happy with the venue and atmosphere – being able to hang out for the weekend with the other bands. “It was just an honour to play with them,” he declared.

Kristy-Lee Audette is a music teacher who plays horn for Synthcake and has recorded with Facts said, “I really don’t think this could have been any better. We are all going back to Vancouver and tell our friends – oh you missed out so bad – twice as many Vancouver people will be here next year,” adding that it would be great to get more locals out in the audience too.

“We are looking to build it for sure,” said Hargrave. “Just want to get people out. Make sure it is the right vibes – get the right crowd of people. Because if people are enjoying themselves they will come back and they will tell their friends.”

“We are just two twenty-something guys with regular jobs who had a dream,” commented Zahrabi. “A dream that came true last weekend.

More information is available online at www.ponderosafestival.com

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