Blizzard Fest is just a few short weeks away and for the first time, the festival is being run as its own entity rather than just as a part of Winter Carnival.
The festival will take place from Thursday, Jan. 28 until Saturday, Jan. 30 and will feature 15 bands.
“In past it’s been sort of in conjunction with the Winter Carnival and it’s been run by like a really dedicated volunteer group, but nothing was really official,” explains Daniel D’Amour, festival organizer. “It seemed like most venue were sort of running separate from everybody else, which ended up causing a lot of confusion, especially for tourists when they came to town: if something was called Blizzard Fest at one place and another place, they didn’t understand why some tickets got them into some events and not other ones.”
This year the entire festival can be accessed with a three-day pass, which costs $99 online at blizzardmusicfest.com or $110 at Rossland Fine Wine and Spirits or the Flying Steamshovel.
For those who don’t want to check out the entire festival, there are also individual tickets available.
“There’s individual tickets available, but there’s limited numbers for those,” warns D’Amour. “Best bet if you want to make sure you get to everything is to buy the pass and then pre-purchasing individual tickets are just a very limited number.”
Headlining the festival is Shred Kelly who will play the Miners’ Hall on Friday night.
Originally from Fernie, Shred Kelly has grown in popularity over the last couple of years, putting out a new album called Sing to the Night and winning a 2015 Western Canadian Music Award for Best Music Video for their latest single “Sing to the Night,” which was filmed at the ski hill in Fernie.
“The reason we’re doing them on the Friday night is because the ice bar is actually running Friday and Saturday, with The Wet Secrets playing Saturday night at the ice bar, we felt that having the Miners’ Hall run on the Friday night with Shred Kelly made more sense to not compete with any venue and make it accessible for everybody, so you could go see all the big name acts and there was no overlapping scheduling conflicts,” says D’Amour.
This year the schedule has been planned so that none of the Blizzard Festival shows overlap, though D’Amour says festival-goers may have to leave some shows early to make sure they get a spot at the next one.
“This is something that we struggle with; there isn’t a big outdoor venue, aside from the ice palace,” he says. “So all of the indoor ones have a [venue] capacity, and if you want to get to see the main act, you might have to leave a few minutes early to make sure you get into the next place, but it should all line up that you have time to go from one location to the next one within half an hour of each band starting.”
A big headliner will play each night of the festival.
Thursday night Bend Sinister will play the Flying Steamshovel and Humans will close out the festival there on Saturday night.
The Old Fire Hall will also act as a venue during the festival, and The Devin Cuddy Band, fresh off their tour from the Holiday Train with Cuddy’s father, will play there Thursday night, followed by Ben Rogers.
Local bands playing the festival are John Lee’s Hooker, The Dead Strings and some acoustic performers.
D’Amour is also still looking for volunteers to help out at the festival, and volunteers will receive weekend passes. Those interested can contact him at 250-512-2118.