OXBOW - The milestone 10th edition of the Bow Valley Jamboree showcased the talents of musicians and artists, as it has in the past, to the delight of the people who gathered Saturday at the Bow Valley Park south of Oxbow.
Approximately 900 people attended this year’s festival, considerably more than the crowd they had last year.
“I would say the day was nothing less than spectacular,” said Lori Moncrief with the Oxbow Arts and Cultural Committee, which puts on the festival each year.
Early in the afternoon, the park was at approximately one-third capacity, which she said was busier than normal.
“They like the flow of the acts. There were no breaks. The crowd was up dancing early. And everybody was happy to be together,” said Moncrief.
Fans were excited about the lineup. After a performance by a bagpipes and drums band, the crowd was treated to seven acts: Downwind, Dusty Rain, Teagan Littlechief, Chris Henderson, the Bromantics, the Tilted Kilts and the Blu Beach Band.
“When the Tilted Kilts got up to play, we had a lot of kilt wearers in the audience. A lot of the local guys chose to wear kilts, so that really added to the day,” said Moncrief.
Littlechief’s powerful voice was a highlight, she said. The Bromantics had people up and dancing, Dusty Rain is an up-and-coming local act, Henderson is always a solid performer, the Blu Beach Band entertained the crowd late at night and Moncrief marvelled at Downwind’s ability to still perform more than 40 years after being formed.
“They still have what it takes. Dianne Twietmeyer’s voice is absolutely phenomenal,” said Moncrief.
They expected it to be one of the best lineups they’ve had in a while, and she believes the musicians delivered.
A congo line formed at one point during The Bromantics’ set.
Feedback from the spectators has been positive, Moncrief said.
Food vendors were sold out or down to their final servings of food.
Moncrief cited other reasons for the larger crowd besides the strong list of performers. The weather was more co-operative this year, since it wasn’t so hot outside, and people are more willing to gather in large crowds than at this time last year.
An artist display was part of the festival this year, too. The arts show was run by committee member Kim Friesen, who is an artist, and Moncrief was excited about celebrating local artisans’ work.
“Right at the gate, people paid admission, and then they saw a great display of artwork, so that’s important to our committee. We want to promote artists’ work and we want to promote culture,” said Moncrief.
Friesen’s work was on display, and she was joined by James Allan, Amy Brook, Caleb Severson, Jeremy Maffenbeier and Colin Baldwin. People could view and even purchase the artwork.
Pre-sale tickets were available for the festival for the first time, and the organizers were able to sell about 120. Moncrief believes advanced tickets will be available again next year.
“It’s good promotion, and then when we sell that many [in advance] it shows we should do it again,” said Moncrief.
Moncrief estimates approximately 40 volunteers make the event happen. Each year they try to add a few more.
“We have a group of people who have been doing it for many, many years, and we need their guidance and their experience, but we also need new blood. We can add some more volunteers for next year. It only improves an event like this for Oxbow and area.”
There has been talking about adding a Friday evening attraction for the festival, which they believe would draw more people to the town. They could stay in a hotel or at the park, and have a weekend in Oxbow.