Ponderosa fest stays true to roots

The second annual Ponderosa Arts and Music Festival brought some big-name bands and non-stop music to the fairgrounds last weekend.

Jay Malinowski & the string trio known as the The Deadcoast (seen above) performed on the Ponderosa stage on Sunday night. (Bottom) Good for Grapes - a Surrey based folk group known to energize a crowd when they perform live – got folks up and dancing in front of the dais.

The Rock Creek Fairgrounds was the setting for a grassroots, independent music festival experience without any long line-ups, massive crowds or big-time corporate sponsors. A fresh new experience awaited those locals who took in the Ponderosa Arts and Music Festival for the first time – Sunday saw the price of admission for local residents dropped to only $15.

That’s a great price to hear bands like Jay Malinoski and the Deadcoast perform live. Ladyhawk, who got their start in Kelowna, were on stage Saturday night.  This year Ponderosa brought in over 25 artists from across Canada and the western U.S.

Organizers Kris Hargrave and Kia Zahrabi say the philosophy of Ponderosa is to create a more intimate music experience and to build an event that truly reconnects people with music and arts.  They estimated attendance at about 500 roughly double the gate at their inaugural festival last year.

Rain threatened through the weekend, but only one act was delayed over the weekend, and that was for a brief 15 minutes on Sunday afternoon.

When they were setting up on Thursday the rain did come though. Hargrave said the grass in front of the dais had become a giant puddle. But they took advantage of the situation by preparing for the worst (which never came). Local Bill Bosovich lent them a tent to erect on the dais to protect the equipment and that’s where the show began on Friday evening.

Hargrave and Zahrabi credited stage manager Leo Sanchez and a great staff and a crew of 30 to 35 volunteers for making the event a success.

They thanked rancher Pete Blaine for lending his time to build sound barrier out of hay rounds to help resolve some complaints from neighbours after their first festival. Other measures were also taken such as placing large rubber vibration absorbers under the speakers on the main stage and a record kept of decibel readings.

Zahrabi said there was only one incident when a camper continued to disrupt others and was asked to leave. Police were called and the individual left- to the cheers of the remaining campers.

Midway RCMP told the Times that there were no other calls for service to the festival.

Ponderosa organizers provided a shuttle bus service to the store in Rock Creek on both Saturday and Sunday.

A live-art mural project was painted on the site during the weekend to help commemorate the 2014 Ponderosa Festival. Also new this year was morning yoga sessions and a moustache and beard contest.

You can find Ponderosa online at www.ponderosafestival.com or on Facebook as Ponderosa Arts and Music Festival.