This weekend The Canadian Bluemoon Elvis Festival rolls into Barriere with a lineup of Elvis tribute artists that could make the King of Rock and Roll himself sit up and take notice.
Starting with an evening show at the North Thompson fall fairgrounds on Friday, July 17, the shows roll right on through the weekend filling Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. with the best music you can find anywhere.
Why do people love to come out to hear the music that Elvis Presley brought to his fans?
“Because the music is timeless, and it never dies,” says stage manager for the event Mike Schell. He has played with the Festival since its inception and is now the music director of the show. “Elvis performed 817 different hits and they were all other artists music – these are just timeless hits.”
He notes that Elvis himself didn’t write a lot of music, he borrowed the music from the Beatles, Johnny Cash and a long list of other great musicians. Those who love the sounds of Elvis fondly remember some of his greats; I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You, I Want To Be Your Teddy Bear, All Shook Up, Always On My Mind, and Burning Love, just to name a few.
We asked two of the founders of the Canadian Blue Moon Elvis Festival, now in its third year, how the festival came to be?
Schell, and Elaine Martelli of Kelowna, noted that initially their was themselves, Elvina Botrakoff and Lucille Clements from Kamloops. Since that time Floyd Mackie of Enderby has also come on board as an organizer and member of their CDN Blue Moon Ventures, which is actually the hosting body of the annual Festival.
“We are all very dedicated Elvis fans and have attended numerous festivals and competitions. Back in 2012 we were sitting together talking and thought, “We Can Do This”!,: said Schell, “The planning started then and there. The name was derived from TCB, we just had to come up with something to go with it, which we did! We contacted Elvis Presley Enterprises Inc. and the rest is history.”
The Festival donates all of its profits from each year’s event to a named charity.
This year the Canadian Hemophilia Society, BC Chapter will be supported, along with the Wounded Warriors Weekend Foundation.
Asked how the charities are chosen, Martelli replies that her husband Mike passed away in June of 2011 from this inherited disease. She tells, “Mike and I used to go to all the Elvis Festivals and cruises – we were great fans.”
Martelli and Schell say it just seemed right to bring forth the music of Elvis that they all loved, and to support this charity as well.
They tell that hemophilia is an inherited disease that prevents the blood from clotting properly. People with hemophilia have a deficiency of a blood protein, also called a “clotting Factor,” that is necessary to clot the blood and stop bleeding. hemorrhages are in joints, especially knees, ankles and elbows; and into tissues and muscles. When bleeding occurs in a vital organ, especially the brain, a hemophiliac’s life is in danger.
Why did they choose the Wounded Warriors Weekend Foundation as their second charity?
“To show and express our heartfelt appreciation to our veterans, reservists, active duty military, and first responders who are challenged by physical and/or mental wounds sustained by active participation in recent or past military conflicts and duties,” said Schell, “We focus in on those ‘wounded warriors’ who are dealing with the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder.”
Martelli says, “When you meet some of these people and what they have been through, you do all that you can to help.”
Schell notes that all of the performers donate their time for the event to support the named charities. “All the entertainers receive no pay, just food and travel costs.”
The Festival also supports area service and non-profit organizations. This year the beer garden will be manned by the North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo Association, the pancake breakfast will be cooked up by the Barriere Curling Club, and all recyclables picked up at the Festival will go to Baglady Bottle Depot who in turn will pass the dollars along to the North Thompson Volunteer Centre.
Schell notes that the community and area have been supportive of their venue, with businesses lending their support in cash or items for the silent auction. Volunteers are still needed to help out for the weekend though if anyone would like to step forward.
Schell stated that as Barriere has not seen a music festival for a number of years the time seemed right to come to the community and to enlarge upon their event.
“We have already marked our dates down to return to the Barriere and the North Thompson Agriplex fairgrounds in 2016. We love the community and the Festival is growing by leaps and bounds.”
Here is the lineup of tribute artists and performers who will be on stage this weekend:
Darrell Douglas, Tulameen
Paul Ellis, Abbotsford
Dino Macris, Bellingham, Washington
Bret Wiggins, Seattle, Washington
Al LeBlanc, North Delta
Aaron Wong, Vancouver
Paul Rodriguez, Renton, Washington
Sylvio Fontaine, Whitewood, Saskatchewan
Roger Anderson, Bonney Lake, Washington
Robin Kelly, Sherwood Park, Alberta
Gary Kehoe – Johnny Cash, White Rock
Joe Passion – Jerry Lee Lewis, Toronto
Al Le Blanc – Rob Orbison, North Delta
Leslie Ross, 108 Mile Ranch – country/cowboy/folk style – came in 2nd at The Rising Star @ The Cowboy Festival in March
Waylon Moar, Logan Lake – old country
Gloria Ellis, Abbotsford – Shania Twain and others
Aaron Halliday – Almost Alan
Ron Boudreau- Canadian Crooner
The Uptown Hornz & The Cadillac Kings
Mike Schell – Trumpet and Vocals, Music Director for Golden Years of Rock ‘N Roll
Steve Soucy – Keyboards and Vocals
Mark Anthony Larmand – Guitars & Vocals
Dean Bates – Alto Sax/Flute and Vocals
Chris Manuel – T-Bone
Gordie Frie – Bari/Tenor Sax and Vocals
Scotty Gamble – Drums
John Fraser – Soundman
For more information about the Canadian Blue Moon Elvis Festival and this weekend’s schedule or ticket prices go to: www.thecdnbluemoon.ca