Having previously worked with music festivals in Victoria, Vancouver and Courtenay, Port Hardy resident Dave Stevenson has long wanted to see a similar outdoor festival on the North Island.
On July 2, he’ll get his wish when the first Tri-Port Music Festival kicks off at noon at Cluxewe Resort.
With the help of a tourism grant, Stevenson secured a diverse group of artists that include guitarist and funnyman Todd Butler of Courtenay, the seven-piece contemporary country group Turnpike Bandits of Victoria, and singer-songwriter Richelle Andre of Port McNeill, who appeared as part of the opening act for bluesman Tim Williams to close the recent North Island Concert Society season.
Stevenson is teaming up with the concert society for the festival, relying on its members’ expertise in ticket sales, vendor booths and treasury matters.
“It’s something I always wanted to see up here,” said Stevenson, who performs in his own band and who has worked the sound system for the Alert Bay MusicFest.
“I knew there were a couple of good local bands, and when I was talking with Malcolm (Fleeton, of NICS), we decided we wanted some good acts up here; quality acts.”
Xanthic Blue, a power-rock group from Victoria, and singer-songwriter Joey Clarkson of Courtenay also appear on the bill, which features a wide array of music styles.
“It’s kind of an eclectic, diverse kind of festival,” Stevenson said.
“It’s not one kind of music — and that’s by design — to appeal to the greatest possible audience.”
In addition to the grant, which he saw advertised at the Regional District of Mount Waddington office, Stevenson attracted a variety of local sponsors to provided financial or in-kind support for the festival and secured the use of Cluxewe Resort from owner Dale Peeler.
In the worst-case scenario the bands and advertising will at least be paid for, Stevenson said. Best-case, fans turn out and the festival can return and even grow, perhaps with the aid of additional grants he plans to apply for.
“I know Dale would like to do this again, if it’s successful. If we can, we could have a two-day festival next year.”
A covered stage will be set up and several tents for vendors, but in case of inclement weather the festival will be moved to the Civic Centre in Port Hardy.