Sarah Jane Scouten, who played the barn stage at the 2018 Roots and Blues Festival, will wrap up this year’s Wednesday On the Wharf concert series with a show on Aug. 28. (File photo)

Hot summer of concerts in store for Salmon Arm

Live music abounds with Wednesday on the Wharf, Downtown Live, Roots and Blues

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 helps people understand and get them into the good habit of paying for professional artists, and it’s an important thing,” says Varnes. “We have sponsorships and we seek grants, but donations play a big part in sustaining this community event.”

Varnes is also excited about the new gutters that have been installed at the gazebo. In the past, if there was a short rain shower, the concert still had to be cancelled because water pooling on the floor of the gazebo created a safety hazard.

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.

Read more: Salmon Arm’s Wednesday on Wharf gets ready to wow audiences

Read more: Salmon Arm Arts Centre looks to up WOW factor

Read more: Live music downtown

Read more: In photos: Downtown Salmon Arm sings with Super Crawl

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, Salmon Arm’s own Peter Clark (guitars and bass)and Elaine Holmes (vocals, guitar, keyboardsperforming their unique adaptations of repertoire both familiar and exotic.

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.

A highlight of the summer is always the Roots & Blues Festival, which takes place from Aug. 15 to 18.

Fans will be delighted to hear that Irish Mythen is returning and will close the festival Sunday night, with special surprise guests.

Other artists include Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo, Valdy, The Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer, Birds of Chicago, Danny Michel, The Garafuna Collective, Mercy Funk, Tal National, Jack Semple, Tristan Le Govic and the Hamiltones.

Along with a world of music, there is a wide variety of tasty food and many intriguing items for sale in the Artisan Market.

The annual music crawl during the week before the event ignites festival fever. Artists perform at Shuswap Theatre, the legion and several downtown pubs and cafés, concluding with a two-band concert at the fairgrounds.

For more information and to buy a ticket to the hottest summer festival in Salmon Arm, go to


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Toronto’s Tennyson King, who played the Shuswap Pie Company last summer, returns to Salmon Arm on Aug. 3 for Downtown Live. (File photo)

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