South Country Fair will come back up the hill this year.
Fort Macleod’s annual summer music festival has scheduled performances by four artists on Main Street on Saturday, July 19.
This is the second year for the South Country Fair Comes Up the Hill outreach program.
“We wanted to try and broaden our reach into town and figured what a better way than free concerts in a more centralized and accessible location,” South Country Fair artistic director Jana Mackenzie explained. “The fair has been a part of the Fort Macleod community for 28 years and has appreciated what the town has had to offer the fair-goers during that weekend.”
“(The program) is a way of giving back, but also a part of growing awareness about who we are and what we do.”
All the performances this year in South Country Fair Comes Up the Hill are at the Fort Macleod Arts Building on Main Street.
Mamselle Ruiz performs at 12 noon, followed by Namgar at 1 p.m., Whiskey Sheikhs at 2 p.m. and Steve Brockley at 3 p.m.
“As a local I have been attending the festival since my early teen years and am grateful for this annual celebration of community,” Mackenzie said. “We hope that others who don’t know about us will start to feel the same way and that the pride of this long-running festival, which has become a summer destination for thousands of individuals, will continue to be celebrated by the local community.”
South Country Fair has long had a tradition of outreach programs, bringing musicians into town to perform afternoon shows for seniors.
Singer-songwriter Linda McRae last year hosted a self-awareness writing workshop at the Foothills Centre last year, and returns again in 2014.
“It was a great success last year and we are honoured to be able to bring her back to do it again,” Mackenzie said.
Organizers have revamped South Country Fair Comes Up the Hill based on lessons learned in 2013 when performances were held both at the Fort Macleod Arts Building and in the gazebo next to the post office.
Crowds were small last year, so all the performances this year will be held at the Fort Macleod Arts Building.
“We were very aware that this would take a bit to catch on and will continue to run this whether we have 10 or 100 people attend,” Mackenzie said. “Some of the greatest live shows I’ve seen were with a small group of people, although there is nothing like a packed house.”
In addition to the scheduled concerts at the Fort Macleod Arts Building, South Country Fair has arranged for local musicians set to busk on Main Street and Second Avenue on Friday, July 18 to help spread awareness about the concerts the following day.
Mackenzie said the criteria for choosing performers for South Country Fair Comes Up the Hill is loose, sometimes depending on the artists’ schedules.
“The music that we program for the festival, I believe, has something for everyone,” Mackenzie said.
Mamselle Ruiz is a Mexican singer-songwriter based in Montreal who is a classically trained musician.
“Her sound combines jazz, folk and Latin American musical styles,” Mackenzie said.
The Whiskey Sheikhs are a raw and energetic Edmonton folk band and Namgar is a Mongolian band that attended South Country Fair previously only to have it rain during their performance.
The Steve Brockley Band, a country-folk group, rounds out the line-up
“I hope folks who aren’t able to come to the festival take the opportunity to enjoy some of the music that we have brought to the area,” Mackenzie said. “I also hope folks who are wandering by and wondering what all the noise is about will stop in, have a seat and maybe consider that they should take a stroll down the hill to see what else we have to offer.”
For more information visit www.southcountryfair.com.