Nelson Kootenay Lake Summer Festival Season
Summer Festival season has arrived in the Nelson Kootenay Lake area, and this year there is something for everyone. This year, Nelson’s third annual Elephant Mountain Literary Festival happens July 10 – 14; The very next weekend is the Starbelly Jam, on July 18, 19 and 20 followed by Kazlo Jazz Fest August 1, 2 and 3rd. Then comes the Columbia Basin Culture Tour, August 9 and 10th. Along with the wonderful outdoor vibe of the Nelson Market Fests, the Kaslo & Nelson Art Walks and the Farmers Markets, there’s a lot to keep you outdoors and dancing this summer!
Elephant Mountain Literary Festival: Nelson’s only summer festival is the Elephant Mountain Literary Festival. This year the line-up includes:
Angie Abdou – Winner of “One Book, One Kootenay” inaugural prize, Angie’s first two novels have been greeted with praise and her first novel, “The Bone Cage” is regularly taught in sport-lit courses across Canada.
Mary Pinkowski – Currently the poet laureate of Edmonton.
Eleanor Wachtel – Host of Books & Co, the infamous CBC radio show.
Craig Shemlit – Printer whose company, Island Blue, currently prints the books of over 3,000 Canadians.
Donna Morrissey – Award winning Newfoundland author.
Barbara Curry Mulcahy – Award winning poet and playwright.
Sid Marty – Award winning author and musician.
Garry Gottfriedson – Studied Creative Writing at the Naropa Institute. His first children’s book was published in 2005. James Tames Horses came out in 2012 and was published by Kegedonce Press.
Douglas Gibson – Acclaimed publisher currently of McClelland & Stewart.
Deryn Collier – Author of Confined Space and Open Secret, mystery novels set in the Kootenays.
Jane Byers – Award winning poet.
Gail Bowen – Award winning author of fifteen mystery books since 1990.
Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm – Publisher at Kegedonce Press and award winning author and musician.
The theme this year is Intersections: Geography, Genre, Genius. The festival this year will explore what the process is for creativity? What converges to produce inspiration, creativity and productivity? The festival also wants to explore what happens when different genres and geographies come together. There will be a series of events, panels and readings across four days. Again this year, there will also be a youth writing workshop on Saturday, July 12 for ages 12 – 18.
Starbelly Jam: This year the Starbelly Jam celebrates its 15th year! Each year, this outdoor music festival is held in Crawford Bay, on the third full weekend in July. The music is eclectic, with funk, world music, rock, hip-hop, reggae, blues, bluegrass, folk, jam bands and even more that defy definition. Children under 13 with an adult get in free — it’s a great family-oriented festival with lots of entertainment and stuff to do for the kids. There’s also tons of food, crafts, workshops as well as jugglers, clowns and still more.
Kaslo Jazz Festival: This marks the 23rd annual Kaslo Jazz Festival, which has been honoured by USA Today as one of the “10 great places to get in tune, be outdoors!” That about sums up the festival. The stage is created on the bay, creating incredible acoustics, while the audience sits on blankets in a fully natural ampitheatre. It’s also in the top ten places to enjoy outdoor summer music, according to the website “Cheap Flights”. It’s really not something you want to miss. Between the great music, the beer garden, the ambiance of the lakeside and the sun, the Kaslo Jazz Festival is something to travel a bit for.
Columbia Basin Culture Tour: This is a self-directed tour of the region’s people behind the works of art and craft you see in the galleries and museums. The tour is also free, which is an added benefit. There are 85 venues this year, so you will definitely want to plan a bit and take a look at the map provided to get an idea of what you want to see and how far you want to travel. This is a truly special way to meet the artists and artisans and support local culture.