Slash , Guns n Roses legend as he is, was recently quoted saying that Monster Truck will “save rock and roll.” Mind blowing, drum slaying and infectiously energetic, Slash was easily justified in this callout. Alongside Monster Truck were countless other artists from around the Pacific Northwest, California, New York City and beyond; they gathered in the Okanagan Valley at Keloha Music and Arts Festival last weekend. Unbeknownst to Slash, Kelowna, BC, has become a remarkable locale for some impressive and diverse talent from around the world. For instance, South African brothers Kongos , with their polished, tightened, and buzzing performance Friday afternoon, caused a major migration to the the Island Stage. Or The Balconies who despite record breaking heat, managed to muster an extreme energy during their set. Sweat was pouring and at points it seemed as though the lake might boil over – mostly due to Jacquie Neville’ s ferocious, raging and incomparable stage presence. A big thank-you to Los Angeles for the magical, beautiful, eerie, spine tingling and majestically haunting Local Natives , their performance making tears fall my eyes.
A new generation of performers strutted some serious “stuff” this past weekend in Kelowna, – not to mention a lakeside paradise playground with a remarkably well-tuned crowd, committed to music, good vibes and happy feelings. Here is Betty and Kora’s rundown from sunrise to sundown of Keloha Music and Arts festival 2014.
Keloha has two stages. The Sandbar Stage and Island stage, situated right in Downtown Kelowna, both creating a perfect summer showcase where revelers, festival’ers and lake -lovers are able to mingle in bathing suits, flip flops and atop flotillas. Surrounded by the Okanagan Lake and music, this playground is a dreamy little location unique to the province, however, we’re hoping for a more accessible beer garden next year. ;). For the artists, the backstage area hosted a pop-up barbershop, which kept every hair in place, and all the musicians looking crisp and ready – male or female. This was a first to see for B & K, well done Keloha.
Kongos , surrounded by a moat of water on the Island Stage, the crowd having a stellar viewpoint from the soft grassy knoll, vistas of mountains behind them. Their Graceland-esque compositions rang through the warm evening wind. These young men from South Africa took a well appreciated stop on their world tour, complimenting Keloha’s diverse line-up with some heavy, bass and bottom driven music.
Rising to the occasion, local artist, Devon Cayote, with an outstanding reputation for true-to-the-bone roots guitar wizardry, played an afternoon set at the Sandbar Stage. His slide finger casting spells under spellbinding sunshine, my ankles wading in the water, and my ears swimming in well-crafted blues riffs.
Seasoned festival’ers will appreciate the reality of the surprise act. Whether it’s a friends recommendation, or a serendipitous stumble-upon, there is always the “Should-Have-Known” show that blows your fucking mind. This year at Keloha Music and Arts Festival, that show was Terraplane Sun, armed and ready with handsome faces and a serious string talent… no mandolin will ever be safe again -they fucking killed that thing. Seriously.
Third Day (Sunday Fun-day)
Notably, Sunday featured the impressive high-kicking, hair grabbing and air catching Jean Phillipe of NYC’s St. Lucia . In summary, sun, heat, sex and lake water came together to create one hell of a performance. This guy is a new age showman, reminiscent (if I dare say) to Elvis Presley. Style.
Amping up the funk, raising the frequency, and electrifying the energy of Keloha, The Funk Hunters kept the 40+ heat – cool. Hands down the best party of the weekend. Happy hunting this summer boys at The Phillips Weekender, Shambhala, Bass Coast and Burning Man!
We’re wearing our sunburns as a badge, unbelievably successful weekend and a really impressive role call of talented human beings – from artists, to staff, and of course to the partiers. In summary, Kelowna is officially licensed to be cool. Love from Kora.
PS The after parties… Now that’s a whole other story…
Written by: Kora and The Lion at Large ❤