The RabbleBerries —
RabbleBerry Rambles

2010 Princeton Traditional Music Festival

It was September 1st when the RabbleBerries got back from the Interior, August 24th when we left home for the Princeton Traditional Music Festival. It was our 3rd invitation to that unique gathering, hosted by Jon Bartlett and Rika Ruebsaat with the enthusiastic support of the city. (All who play are given meal vouchers and paid for gas, but donate their time, so we managed to come up with a financially-compensatory house concert in Kelowna.) This year they rented all the campsites along the Similkameen River for the event’s performers, so we enjoyed 3 nights there in our rabbly enclave. Sharon and I were present in dual capacities, for we also belong to Island Thyme Morris; she dances and I’m one of the side’s musicians. Two other sides, QuicksBottom (also from Victoria) and Bowen Island’s Black Sheep Morris, whacked sticks to the hearty approval of onlookers. Sharon in addition hosted one of the panel concerts, and consequently was much in demand both days. Our band’s own Sunday-afternoon set was attended by many old friends. It was our turn to close the festival, so through the attrition of fairgoers and audience we did poorly in CD sales. In fairness, fair was the weather throughout; nice for us, but it did no favours for the firefighters up on the smoking mountaintops we saw on our way in.

Our road lay the other way, through Old Hedley, on the floor of a winding, narrow valley with a string of rusty sheds and minechutes clinging to the rock face high above, like a Democlesian roller coaster. Breaking through the mountains at last, we beheld the Okanagan Valley at the beach head of Skaha Lake, the city of Penticton in the near distance. Following the Channel against the flow of basking tubers, we skirted the expanse of Okanagan Lake, glimpsing no Ogopogo nessling. In sunny Summerland we stayed with a couple of artist friends of Karen’s, Ron and Marcia, for whom we gave a patio performance. The next day Marcia took us for a climb up the Giant’s Head, where we were buffeted by the wind as we sighted down metal guides trained upon various features of Lilliput spread below. Then we went for ice cream and some thriftstore shopping before packing for the short jaunt up the lake to Kelowna, home of our next hosts. Sharon’s friendship with Linda arises from commonalities of work for StatsCan. Her husband Glen, with much experience as a soundman, has built a stage in the backyard of their house, approaching which one is treated to a spectacular sunset view of the lake, the night-time galaxy of the area’s waterfront and heights. Playing for about two dozen appreciative citizenry, we found selling CDs yet a learning experience while having a total blast anyway.

The ride home was so blandly uneventful that we deliberately missed the last ferry to Victoria in favour of the last ferry to Vancouver Island, the one that goes to Duke Point near Nanaimo, so that we’d have to drive half the night as well. Surely that would have been quite sufficient, but we locked ourselves out of the car for good measure and the jaded need for higher contrast with the rest of a singularly-manageable tour. Next time, the group being unanimously willing, we should, in my duly-considered opinion, skip these stimulative measures altogether.

— O’D

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