Ponderosa features music, arts

The Ponderosa Arts and Music Festival will return to Rock Creek fairgrounds for the second year from August 22-24.

The Ponderosa bandshell stage at the Rock Creek Fairgrounds.

Billed as Rock Creeks’ niche festival and a unique getaway festival experience, the Ponderosa Arts and Music Festival will return to the Boundary from Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 22-24.

The festival is the brainchild of Kia Zahrabi and Kris Hargrave, two friends that grew up in the Okanagan and Boundary who had the dream of creating unique events, sharing good music, and making great memories.

This is the second year for the festival and Hargrave took time to talk with the Times on the phone last week and said that two bands—Plants and Animals, and Braids—are coming from Montreal. Two Portland-based bands are coming as well. There will be two stages running, alternating on the three nights of the festival.

Up-and-coming talent is still big too. Hargrave says that Ponderosa provides an opportunity to good bands that don’t normally get a chance to play on stage in front of a large crowd. “You may not recognize the name, but you probably will remember them once you’ve seen them play,” he promises.

Indie rock is the main theme, with some folk, reggae and blues in the mix to keep everyone happy. Two DJs will be coming in from Mexico to provide Latin beats.

Hargrave said they are expanding the arts side of Ponderosa this year, with a group of artists collaborating on a mural project. Morning yoga classes are new this year too.

“We are striving to maintain a certain vibe and are looking to build a sense of community that we feel has faded from some of the larger outdoor music events,” Zahrabi told the Times last year. “The Ponderosa team has a focus on sustainability and believes in organic growth. Rock Creek is a small community that enjoys its laid back, undiscovered reputation and we want to be sure the festival grows at a rate that the community is comfortable with.”

But at least two nearby residents complained about the volume and late hours to the fair association after last year’s event and subsequent discussions between the fair board and Ponderosa have led to an agreement to try to lessen the disturbance for nearby residents.

Last year the music ran until 2 a.m. on all three nights; this year it will be shutting it down earlier (midnight) on the Sunday. Hargrave said they will be bringing in a smaller stage, have scheduled more acoustic style and softer sounding bands for the later sets and will be moving the DJ sets that happen after midnight to the band shell (dais) where the buildings and grandstands will absorb some of the sound.

“We will be taking decibel readings throughout the weekend and will be constructing something, like a wall of hay bales to serve as a sound barrier at the big stage. Rubber mats will be placed under the bass speakers. We have polled a lot of people and gathered a lot of opinions so we should be able to help with that.”

Ponderosa organizers are declaring Sunday as “Locals Day.” Anyone who can show ID proving local residence will get in on Sunday for a price that Hargrave termed as a “super discounted rate.”

“A lot of the time music festivals have a negative connotation,” Hargrave said. “They are known for being super wild or super crazy. We just want people to come out and check it out and see what a music festival can be like. It can be good music and relaxed and a beautiful thing. Come out and check it out and give a really good music festival a chance.”

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

When interviewed at the end of July, Hargrave said organizers welcome volunteers (especially those with first aid credentials) and they still had room for more local craft vendors.

Hargrave and Zahrabi are passionate about Ponderosa. They talk about going back to the true meaning of “hosting” a party. This is what they feel has, and will separate Ponderosa from other music festivals.


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