By Barb Brouwer
Music adds a magical note to summer in Salmon Arm.
Residents and visitors can enjoy a wide variety of music, thanks to the Shuswap District Arts Council, Salmon Arm Downtown and the Salmon Arm Folk Music Society.
Wednesday On the Wharf, or WOW! as it is affectionately known, is an admission-by-donation program of Wednesday evening concerts at Salmon Arm’s Marine Peace Park.
Now in it’s 26th year, WOW! features musical styles ranging from roots to rock, jazz to funk, and folk to bluegrass. This much-loved community event begins mid-June and runs until the end of August.
And there are a few changes to this year’s series, says program manager Astrid Varnes.
Anyone who has attended a WOW! concert has seen how young children dance in front of the gazebo where the artists perform.
Building on this, a new rhythm section is a dedicated kids’ area that features a different movement activity every week – dance ribbons, hula hoops and giant bubble wands will be rotated throughout the summer.
“This promotes physical literacy, creative free movement in relation to the music and it fosters musical appreciation in our young audiences,” says Varnes.
The addition of two “admission alleys” allows audience members to make a donation as they enter the area.
This year’s WOW! lineup includes the Salmon Arm Secondary JL Jackson and Sullivan bands on June 12, the roots/folk music of Margit Sky Project on June 19 and Mariel Buckley’s roots/country sounds on June 26.
In July, it’s Salmon Arm’s Green Room on July 3, folk rock with Greg Drummon on July 10, The Stepensons and their take on folk on July 17, German folk singer Hanne Kat performs on July 24 and Australia roots/rock group This Way North rounds out the month.
August opens with the folk/root music of Naomi Shore on the 7th, followed by Ontario roots/blues and rock artist Jessica Stuart Fe on Aug. 14, the Slocan Ramblers and their exuberant bluegrass on Aug. 21 and the season wraps on Aug. 28 with the roots/country sounds of Sarah Jane Scouten.
Listeners are invited to gather around the gazebo with their lawn chairs or blankets to enjoy the concerts that take place from 6:45 to 8:30 p.m.
Salmon Arm Downtown’s new Downtown Live series combines the former Lunch Box Stage, Saturday Night Live and Thursday Jazz night.
Running through July and August, Downtown Live will consist of 21 performances at the Ross Street Plaza – Friday afternoons at 12:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 to 11:30 to coincide with the Saturday Farmers’ Market.
June features two Friday concerts, with the performer for June 22 yet to be announced, and The Tree Huggers on tap for the 29th.
July concerts begin on the 5th Francois et Guillaume, aka Willy Gaw and Darrin Herting, playing their cool Gypsy jazz. The female ukulele band The Shukeles perform on Friday, July 12 and on the 26th, Nice Verdes will entertain with their original tropical folk. July closes out on the 27th with Green Room.
Downtown Live Friday concerts get off to a rollicking start with Tennyson King from Ontario, who will also play on Aug. 3.
Francois et Guillaume will be back in the plaza on Aug. 9 while Tomy Thisdale and the Carbons, a Vancouver Rock band will perform on Aug. 23 and 24 during the downtown Farmer’s Market as well.
Singer-songwriter Zach Kleisinger will round out the Friday concert series with his soulful sounds on Aug. 30 and 31.
More artists will be added to the lineup for the Saturday performances.