By Darlene Barss

The playlist this week has some of the artists that played last Saturday, Sept 9 at Summer Lights Festival in Brandon, MB. The festival was in its second year and hopefully will continue on in the future. It is a pretty fantastic little festival held at the Keystone Centre Grounds in the middle of the city. It’s a nice bit of green space with trees and it felt a little like a magical grove by nightfall.

The festival has a relaxed atmosphere and gets some great talent in. Check out the line up! Royal Canoe being there was a big draw for me but there was so much more. I had gotten up early Saturday morning to drive the 3 1/2 hours from Regina so by the time I got there we had something to eat and got settled, we had missed Fontine and the Songwriters Circle but I had to make sure I was there for Lanikai, led by former Imaginary Cities member Marti Sarbit. They have catchy alt-pop tunes and Marti’s great vocals and were a great start to my festival. Richard Inman had a smooth deep toned voice telling tales in his folk/country tunes. I got the feeling he has had some hard living on the road.  Sweet Alibi also had some tales to tell with their sweet harmonies in their roots/pop songs. Dave Quanbury had an interesting multi-instrumental set and was my favourite new discovery of the day. I will be checking him out some more.

We left the festival and missed William Prince but I had just seen him in Regina so I am sure his honey baritone voice was well received. We got back in time to catch some JP Hoe. His rocking set brought the energy up.  The Zolas really brought the energy up more with their set. They were so much fun and Zach in particular, was really enjoying the vibe and setting of the festival. He felt compelled to come down into the audience a couple times and sing from there. Between these performers were some lovely local performers to entertain us on the stage change overs. I was pleasantly surprised to see a Regina performer, Keiffer McLean, show up on the stage as well. It was a bit busy on the stage and he had a some trouble getting the crowds attention but he had mine. Then Shotgun Jimmie took over and got the people up and singing along. The guy sure can make you smile.

If there had been any doubt in my mind that the trip to Brandon was worth it, Royal Canoe got rid of that. They were on the start of their fall tour and were so wonderful to see. I love their unique quirky syncopated sounds and I have been waiting to see them again for a long time. They had us all up and dancing in the summer lights. It was all quite magical.

Summer Lights Music Festival is definitely one I would recommend going to. They had a great bathroom trailer and some free bannock and honey as some perks. It could use a few more vendors but that will come as the festival matures I am sure.  It was pretty well run and I had a great day. I look forward to seeing what they do next year.


Summer Lights photos on my facebook page.