Recently the members of the Desert Daze Music Committee met with their friends and partner organizations to discuss the 2021 Desert Daze Festival that (almost) was and – more importantly – begin the process of putting together what will be the greatest Desert Daze Music Festival in history come September 2022!
On September 26 the Desert Daze Committee and members of the Spences Bridge Improvement District (SBID – the Board that oversees the maintenance of the building and property that is the home of the festival), the Spences Bridge Community Club (SBCC – the not-for-profit that oversees the funding opportunities for the festival) as well as Marcie Down from Explore Gold Country met over lunch at the Packing House Restaurant in Spences Bridge.
Although we did find time to talk “business”, this meeting was actually more heavy on “social”. It has been an extremely trying and challenging year and a half for all of us in BC’s southern interior with unseasonable heat waves, the devastating wildfires that were so destructive in the TNRD area – (which led to the loss of the entire nearby Village of Lytton as well as a week long evacuation order for the people of Spences Bridge itself), the severe disruption to the local economy due to primary route road closures, the loss of local internet and phone service for several days and (seemingly) on and on. These conditions along with the re-imposition of Covid 19 safety protocols in late August led to the ultimate decision to cancel the 2021 Desert Daze Festival. Add to this the personal losses experienced by members of the Desert Daze team during this time. This meeting then in reality was a recognition of the struggles of these wonderfully resilient people and an expression of our eternal gratitude for their strength, courage and positive vision!
Yet between mouthfuls of the delicious food offered by the Packing House we did manage to begin to set out the general concepts and vision for the 2022 festival. Some of the issues discussed were:
- Setting the date of the 2022 Desert Daze Festival to the second weekend of September, as we had done for the 2021 festival. We felt this date lines up better with the bountiful harvest season experienced by our local farms and will allow us to better incorporate them into our theme of harvest bounty. Also it is assumed that the weather will be much more pleasant (no 40C+ days, but maybe some evening sweater weather).
- How we can better stay true to our mission statement (www.desertdaze.ca/about-us/) and further promote the goals and ideals entrenched therein.
- As mentioned above, we wish to encourage the greater participation by local farming, orchard and winery businesses – such as Desert Hills in Ashcroft, Horstings Farms in Cache Creek as well as Secret Garden and Hilltop Gardens in Spences Bridge – and beyond!
- Desert Daze will continue to support local and regional musicians and artisans as much as possible as we have done in the past 11 iterations of the event. However we may also look at bringing in a “big-name” act as well for 2022. We cannot afford to hire “mega-stars” (you are not going to see Carrie Underwood or Keith Urban or The Rolling Stones in Spences Bridge anytime soon) but we may be taking a look at bringing in a high profile entertainer or group for 2022. We will keep you all posted.
- Other issues discussed were
- how to incorporate more of the village of Spences Bridge itself into the Desert Daze festival experience (i.e. alternate performance venues on Friday morning and/or Sunday) ala Wells BC during the ArtsWells Festival.
- Continuing with our close association with the local motel, inn, campgrounds and other accommodation venues in Spences Bridge as well as perhaps partnering with other establishments in Cache Creek and/or Lytton and maybe providing bus transportation to and from the festival site.
- Allowing limited tenting/camping on the festival grounds itself.
- The SBID plans for replacing the decades old and non-functioning sprinkling system currently in the ground at the site and thereby renewing the lawn to its former lush emerald green.
- Partnering with Explore Gold Country to bring higher visibility and awareness to the event.
- Repainting and “muralizing” the exterior of the building itself. (see article on our Facebook page).
- Continuing with plans to upgrade the electrical system in order to bring more power to the main stage itself. This will help accommodate bigger and better audio and lighting systems for both the stage and the entire festival grounds.
Stay tuned to this website and our Facebook page for further announcements in the upcoming weeks and months ahead.
As mentioned, it has been a difficult and challenging several months for all sectors of society, especially those communities of art and music presenters and promoters. But the resilience and courage of the people of Spences Bridge and surrounding region are an inspiration to all of us, and we are again determined to present in September 2022 the most magnificent edition of “The Best Little Fest in the West” in history! We are looking forward to once again enjoying live music and all the wonderful offerings that our festival provides with all of our friends and supporters near and far!