OXBOW - The sound of music and cheering spectators resonated throughout the Bow Valley south of Oxbow on Saturday for the annual Bow Valley Jamboree.
A large crowd turned out to enjoy the music festival, which started midway through the afternoon and continued into the overnight hours. Lori Moncrief with the Oxbow Arts and Cultural Committee said they had 359 adults attend, along with 28 youth and 20 twilight admissions, to go with 36 kids under 12. The latter age group was admitted for free.
“We were certainly nervous about what this year would look like because of COVID, and at the beginning (for jamboree planning) we had restrictions of 150 people,” Moncrief told the Mercury.
The restrictions were lifted last month and the organizers were happy with the turnout.
“We saw some new faces this year,” said Moncrief. “We had people from Russell, Manitoba. We had more people from Estevan, and … more people from Alida, too. And that’s what we’re looking for. We’re wanting to spread the news that Oxbow’s a good place to be in the summer.”
The entertainment started with Allan Mohrbutter, who supplied some bagpipe music. Moncrief described him as a talented young man who is well-known in the community, so people were happy to see him on the stage.
The jamboree continued with Downwind, a veteran southeast Saskatchewan group that has performed at the jamboree in the past.
Up next was Harmoniously Hip, comprised of Kathy Kyle and Erin Brown of Oxbow. Morgan Robertson, a young Carlyle musician who has already earned some recognitions, was next. And then there was Last Birds, the husband and wife duo of Mike Davis and Lindsay Arnold out of North Portal.
“It’s exciting for us to see local people have the spotlight, and they’re doing great things,” said Moncrief.
The Singles, with Heidi Munro and Scott Patrick, took to the stage later in the evening and had the crowd dancing. Moncrief said they brought a lot of energy to the stage.
Blu Beach Band, which is a party band, wrapped up the festival. Moncrief said the musicians are young, but they play hits from her generation like AC/DC and Creedence Clearwater Revival.
“The fact that the crowd got up and danced the night away is what we were looking for,” said Moncrief.
Several vendors were at the campground to sell their merchandise and services: Off the Rails Studio (pottery), Kaiya’s Pupcakery (dog treats), The Perfect Fit (jeans and shorts) and Mariah Warriner (henna tattoos).
They were pleased with the response from the public, and Moncrief said she believes sales were average to above average.
The Expressway Family Centre ran a kids area that was well received with its bouncy castle, face-painting and games; and the festival’s organizers were pleased to provide an opportunity for the Southeast Shrine Club and the Oxbow Lions Club to raise funds with food sales, and the Royal Canadian Legion Estevan branch to sell tickets for an annual truck raffle.
The campground at the Bow Valley Park was full for the festival, too.
A 50-50 draw was worth $700, and was won by Josh Sinclair of Oxbow. Proceeds will be directed to jamboree expenses and upcoming projects for the Oxbow Arts and Cultural committee.
Moncrief noted that she had a really interesting conversation with Alameda resident Butch Richardson, who told her that he saw a lot of smiling people in attendance. He’s a big music fan, and Moncrief was happy to hear his assessment.
“I sure felt that way. We haven’t had live music for a long time, and it put a song in my heart, too,” said Moncrief.
She believes this was time to celebrate the fact that people have made it through the pandemic and it’s time to have fun again.
Once she was finished with cleanup on Sunday, one of the people in the campground asked about volunteering for next year to ensure the festival can continue in the future. Approximately 20 volunteers helped make the event happen.
If they have more volunteers, Moncrief said it would allow the workers to take a break and enjoy the music.
“We always need more volunteers. Most of us have been doing it for a while, and you need new blood, new ideas, and cleanup is not an easy thing to do, so it was really great of him to offer for next year,” said Moncrief.