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L.A. Beat

Lots of fun in store for South Country Fair

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The two main live music venues in Lethbridge close down for South Country Fair, so most of the music community will be in Fort Macleod, July 21-23.
 People come  to South Country Fair for a variety of reasons.

Washboard Hank is this year’s South Country Fair mayor. Photo by Richard Amery
“(People come) For the music obviously but also I think a lot of it is for the community. You can definitely feel it when you walk around here - the amount of love and togetherness. Everyone works really hard to make sure that all the guests have a great time. A lot of unique friendships have been made here and it's a really special place to return to, year after year,” summarized  artistic director Jana MacKenzie.

 Gillian Moranz grew up in a South Country Fair family as her parents Maureen Chambers and Trent Moranz helped found the festival over 30 years ago.

 She has been responsible for booking the East Stage for the past several years. As she has been living in Vancouver for the past year, she is excited to introduce some of her favourite new musical discoveries to the Fair.

“But we have a great line up of performers from Calgary to Edmonton to Kamloops. And we have some  newcomers, which I’m very excited about,” she said, taking a break from working as a producer with the Vancouver Folk Festival.
 Some familiar faces include Mariel Buckley who has played the Windy City Opry and who will be returning to Lethbridge the following week for the Wide Skies music Festival, plus Joe Nolan and the Dogs, roots, bluegrass duo Chicken-Like Birds, who have played Lethbridge a couple of times, local favourites Junkman‘s Quire, who have just released their new CD and Eliza Marie Doyle, who used to play with the Cracker Cats and who was most recently in Lethbridge, both as a solo performer and as a member of the Dead South.

“We also have Kitty and the Rooster who includes Noah Walker who is a great guitar player who has played with CR Avery and Jodie Ponto who is a great photographer,” she said.
“ I’m excited about Sam Tudor. He’s a really young songwriter from Vancouver who doesn’t tour often,” she enthused, adding she is also excited to present Vancouver bluegrass band Viper Central.
 She always enjoys South Country Fair.

“I have to give credit to all of the volunteers. It is pretty exciting. They have such spontaneous  energy and creativity,” she enthused.

Artistic director Jana McKenzie is excited about many things about this year‘s South Country Fair.
“Well, this is the second year of kids rock camp, they'll once again be starting off the stage on Friday and last year being its first year we've never had more people at the main stage that time of day - so we're really looking forward to that again, should be an exciting start for the kids. Another thing I'm excited about is that we've got William price coming to the fair who has recently won a Juno so that should be a good show,” she wrote from the Ness Creek Music Festival. She noted one of the changes  this year is moving the Fair’s outreach program   to the gazebo by the swimming pool

“ So we're hoping some of the people in town will be able to get a taste of the fair,” she wrote.

 She noted some of Friday night’s highlights are Winnipeg based first nations singer songwriter  William Prince, up and coming Toronto based bluegrass band Slocan Ramblers and Argentina born, Victoria based world music band Entangados.
On Saturday some of the evening performers include Regina based Celtic/Pop/ Alternative rock band The Johnny McQuaig band and Vancouver indie rock band Bad Pop.
In addition to new faces, there are also some familiar faces including mayor Washboard Hank.

“Our mayor Washboard Hank who's bringing along his sweet lady Mountain Muriel. Eliza Mary Doyle is returning but this time as a solo act. She once played the festival with the band Cracker Cats. And we've also got The Johnny McQuaig band returning wThe Junkman's Quire are a local band performing at Soiuth country Fair this year. Photo by Richard Ameryhich a lot of our faithful fair-goers are really excited about,” MacKenzie wrote, adding she is excited about some of the new faces performing this year.

“Entangados are coming this year all the way from Argentina. We also have Coig - a Celtic group from Cape Breton which should be a good show. And Sam Tudor who's a great singer/song writer - we first saw him at Break Out West and we're really thrilled he's playing this year,” she continued
Mackenzie has been  involved with the South Country Fair since she was a teenager and  booking the south stage for the past six years. she noted the overall essence of the fair has remained pretty much the same.

“I'm not sure how much it's actually changed - as it's maintained that sort of old-world folk festival with that same level of hospitality. We've grown in size for sure, but we always ensure that the core heart of it remains the same, in providing a safe, inclusive environment for people to experience unique local and regional talent,” she noted, adding there have been many unique experiences.
“We've definitely had a lot of unique experiences but more recently last year we had a surprise act for our 30th anniversary - The Imprints - from Australia. It was really nice to be able to give that extra show to the audience.”
All of the performers can be found at

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat editor
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 18 July 2017 09:46 )  
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