Kootenay Music Festivals: Where the Mountains Set the Stage

Kootenay Music Festivals: Where the Mountains Set the Stage

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It moves in rhythm, keeping time with the persistent, resonating thump. Lights scan from overhead; tie-dyed shirts and bright beach balls are highlights of the wave it illuminates below.

You’re part of it, bobbing with the rest, lost in the moment in the sea of a summer music festival.

You’d be hard pressed to find a better setting for a music festival than here in the Kootenays. Mountains surrounding stages reverberate beats back to festival goers, while the region’s lakes carry the sounds kilometres beyond.

Around the Kootenays this summer? Itching for a tie-dye infused road trip? The following are festivals to make your way toward this summer:

Tiny Lights (Ymir, BC)
Jun 12-14, 2020
- Genres: Indie (Independent Canadian)
- 2019 Artists: Abigail Lapell, Moon Tricks, Cam Penner

Part of what makes ‘Tiny Lights’ so unique is their tiny size, performances are intimate - bursting with stellar talent and interested humans.

Photo courtesy of the Tiny Lights Festival

AMISSA Festival (Meadow Creek, BC)
Jun 21-22, 2019
- Genres: Variety (International & DJs)
- 2019 Artists: Lenny Kiser, Neighbour, Oakk, Sabota

AMISSA featured international acclaimed artists as well as some of the finest DJs and producers from Western Canada and the Kootenays. This grassroots event combines the love of art, music and the outdoors. The directors pride themselves on curing a solid music line up coupled with local visual artists and venders. 

Steamboat Mountain Music Festival (Edgewater, BC)
Jul 5-7, 2019
- Genres: Variety (Blues, Country, Folk, Swing & more)
- 2019 Artists: Fraid Knot, Cami Leard Band, The Lovebullies, Chisel Peak Blues Band

This family-friendly, down-home music festival is hosted by the small community (population 437) of Edgewater, BC.  The event begins with several ‘Porch Parties’ around the town on the Friday evening, followed by live performances on Saturday and music workshops on Sunday.

Starbelly Jam Festival (Crawford Bay, BC)
Jul 19-20, 2019
- Genres: Variety (Bluegrass, Electronic, Folk, Rock, Reggae/Ska, Samba & more)
- 2019 Artists: Snotty Nose Rez Kids, BC/DC, Yaima, MonkeyDragon

Coordinated by a community-minded group, this festival was started to celebrate how wonderful it all is and has become the cultural event of the year for the East Shore of Kootenay Lake.

Photo courtesy of the Starbelly Jam Festival

Kaslo Jazz Etc. Festival (Kaslo, BC)
July 31 - Aug 2, 2020
- Genres: Variety (Blues, Bluegrass, Funk, Indie, Jazz, Rock, Soul & more)
- 2019 Artists: Elliot Brood, Harry Manx, Galactic, Mandolin Orange

The festival’s floating stage helps turn the area into a natural amphitheatre. Built within Kaslo Bay Park, the stage is situated so sounds from the performers reverberate against a mountain backdrop, amplifying the music to festival-goers who either swim or paddle around the stage or listen from along the sandy shoreline.

Photo courtesy of the Kaslo Jazz Etc. Festival

Shambhala Music Festival (Salmo, BC)
July 24 - 27, 2020
- Genres: Electronic
- 2019 Artists: Deathpact, Troyboi, Bonobo, Poolside

Shambhala may hold the record as Canada's biggest electronic music festival. The heart of the festival are ‘the people’ who flock annually to rub shoulders with 17,000 colourfully-clad music lovers.

Photo courtesy of the Shambhala Music Festival

Wapiti Music Festival (Fernie, BC)
Aug 7-8, 2020
- Genres: Indie
- 2019 Artists: Black Pistol Fire, Current Swell, Mountain Sound

This festival has a focus on delivering a curated experience of the best Indie Rock bands from across Canada. Previous acts who have played Wapiti include many Juno award winners, such as July Talk, The Strumbellas, Yukon Blondie, Elliott Brood and Wintersleep.  

Photo courtesy of the Wapiti Music Festival

Invermere MusicFest (Invermere, BC)
Aug 16-17, 2019
- Genres: Variety (Country, Folk, Indie, Soul, World & more)
- 2019 Artists: Garifuna Collection, Delhi 2 Dublin, Danny Michel, Alex Cuba

This music festival includes performances from several high-energy bands and soulful artists on their waterfront stage.  World renowned artists and local talented bands will share the stage during this year’s 2-day event in August.

Inveremere Music Fest, photo courtesy of the Festival

Peak Music Festival (Cranbrook, BC)
Aug 30-31, 2019
- Genres: Variety (Blues, Country, Folk, Funk, Indie, Rock & more)
- 2019 Artists: Five Alarm Funk, Sax Drive, Band of Brothers, Baker Street Blues

To end the season of music in the Park (Rotary Park), the community of Cranbrook plays host to local and regional bands over their two-day festival. FREE admission - fantastic opportunity for the entire family to enjoy and dance over the two days.

More Live Music
- Concerts in the Park (Castlegar – every Wednesday from Jun 12 to Aug 28)
- Kaleidoscope Arts Festival (Kimberley – Aug 17) 
- Markets and Music on Main (Radium Hot Springs – every Friday; Jun 29 to Aug 31 and Sep 14-15)
- Music in the Park (Nakusp – every Wednesday from Jul 3 to Aug 28)
- Rock the Fort (Fort Steele – Jul 26)
- Summer Sounds & Dancing in the Park (Cranbrook – every Saturday from Jul 6 to Aug 24)
- Summer Street Fest (Revelstoke – every evening from Jun 29 to Aug 25)

Related Stories
4 Quirky Communities along Kootenay Lake
Kaslo Jazz Festival Celebrates 25 Years (in 2016)
Wapiti: Fernie's Mountain Music Festival

Introduction written by Gina Begin (other content by a KootRocks Staffer - Shannon Harrison).
Cover/Top photo courtesy of the Kaslo Jazz Festival.

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Tags: Canadian Rockies Columbia Mountains Explore Canada ExploreBC The Kootenays

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