Okanagan Indigenous Music and Arts Festival fills void in Kelowna’s summer celebrations

Inaugural festival to kickoff this July, will showcase culture in fun, accessible way

The first Okanagan Indigenous Music and Arts Festival is coming to the Annette Beaudreau Amphitheatre in West Kelowna on July 6 and 7 to celebrate the beauty and diversity of Indigenous culture in the Okanagan.

“Our festival will showcase our artists in a way that does not currently exist in Interior British Columbia,” Okanagan Indigenous Music & Arts Society president Jenny Money said.

“It encourages a welcoming, understanding and appreciative environment in the true spirit of reconciliation,” she said. “We’re created cultural access, especially for those who are disenfranchised.”

Guests will be entertained with live music, dance performances and comedy acts. A variety of workshops will also be open for registration including songwriting, traditional plant foraging and craft workshops teaching hand drum and rattle making.

“We saw a definite need within the community as far as supporting tourism and Indigenous tourism,” Money said.

The Indigenous music and arts festival also aims to create a safe space for performers, while establishing representation for youth in the “contemporary arena,” Money explained.

“The festival is all about elevating our artists,” she said. “There’s not a lot of platforms where they are celebrated.”

With over 15 vendors from across the country already scheduled to sell their artisan goods and crafts, a variety of culinary choices and an on-site activity tent providing fun and educational activities for children, the festival will have something for everyone.

Money said she is most excited to see a real blend of community members celebrating together.

“Gathering the community together in celebration; to me, that’s the aspect that is lacking in our community,” she said, noting there are a lot of celebrations in the area, but few are aimed at such a wide and diverse crowd.

Single-day and weekend passes are available for purchase, including some limited VIP passes that get visitors backstage and closer to the action. Tickets start at $35 for the first ever Indigenous Music & Arts Festival on July 6 and 7.

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