Music Festival the Discovery Islands

Shoal Bay International Music Festival

Monday, August 23, 2010S.V. CAMBRIA


The Morningstar Trio playing during a break in the rain.

When we got back to Shoal Bay on Wednesday, it was very quiet and the dock was nearly empty excepting the locals – Blues Power, Silent Sam and Valhallah – leaving you with the feeling that summer's over. But that all changed and, by Friday afternoon, boats were rafted together three or four deep filling the air with a buzz of excitement.

I'm not sure if it was impromptu or planned (you can never tell in Shoal Bay), but Mark threw together another pizza night on Friday for everyone at the docks and at anchor, so we hung around and had a bite to eat while visiting with and meeting the new arrivals. And then, of course, the guitars came out and the stage filled with musicians, including David who was undeniably having a great time. Despite all the fun, we called it an early evening and were back on the boat by nine o'clock, but the party continued in the pub until two in the morning.

Saturday started off as a beautiful day with sunshine and very few clouds, but there was a chill in the air that hadn't been there previously. As the afternoon progressed, people came up from the docks with their chairs to listen in as musicians picked up their instruments and played together on stage – it was all very informal but resulted in some great music. And then, all of a sudden, it started to rain. But this is the Pacific Northwest, so out came the foul-weather gear, umbrellas and tarps and the fun continued as we all huddled onto the deck of the pub under a make-shift awning and lined up for the pig-roast and potluck dinner. By the time we were finished eating and cleaning up, the sky had cleared and the rain had stopped, so the audience took its place while individual groups took the stage starting with The Morningstar Trio out of Victoria.

I was really looking forward to listening to the Brownsville Blues Band and how much progress they'd made over the last few days. David was eager as well and, either through nerves or excitement, could hardly sit still. When they finally took the stage, it was already dark and getting cold. Before they could tune up, it started to sprinkle. And by the time they were playing their first song, it was raining and the audience left to seek shelter turning their set into another jam session open to everyone who could fit under the cover of the stage's canopy – not exactly the expected outcome but, once again, everybody made the best of the situation and nobody's spirits seemed to be dampened by the rain.

Meanwhile, Mark lit a fire in the pub and, eventually, everyone gave up and moved the party indoors. Even though half the crowd had already returned to their boats, there were still close to fifty people crammed inside with a small group of three or four playing bluegrass-folk music, a style which seems to be popular in Canada. It stopped raining around eleven o'clock, so we made a run for the dinghy and home while we could but, once again, the party went on without us and saw three in the morning before the die hards called it a night.

All and all, it was a great weekend but, come Sunday morning, there was a mass exodus of boats, including Kelly and Linda. And by Monday, when Mark took another load of people to Campbell River, it was clear that summer is truly over.

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