Bluegrass long weekend in Qualicum Bay

Lighthouse Bluegrass Festival to kick off in Qualicum Bay

The first Lighthouse Bluegrass Festival is set to take place this Canada Day weekend in Qualicum Bay. Long Road Home from Colorado will be one of two bands headlining the festival.

The first Lighthouse Bluegrass Festival is set to take place this Canada Day weekend in Qualicum Bay. Long Road Home from Colorado will be one of two bands headlining the festival.

The first Lighthouse Bluegrass Festival is getting ready to launch and organizers are excited to bring more folks to this rather undiscovered location in Qualicum Bay.

Organizer Linda Thorburn said there are events that happen here and there at the Lighthouse Community Centre but she’s confident this event will bring more business and activity to the quiet area while also bringing the community together.

“I think there’s going to be this sense of community spirit for this bluegrass festival, it’s sort of bringing everybody together and it’ll be amazing to see.”

The Festival boasts some big names and plenty to do over the Canada Day long weekend. Peter Wernick, also known as Dr. Banjo, will be coming from Colorado to put on a workshop and also headlining the festival with his band Long Road Home.

“Dr. Banjo is actually a legend,” said Thorburn. “He’s a bluegrass crusader.”

Dr. Banjo will be holding three sessions for those just getting into bluegrass music and spectators are welcome. Pre-registration is required for this workshop. 

While there is a fee for Dr. Banjo’s workshop there are a host of free workshops. These include fiddle, banjo, mandolin and a beginners’ jam. The Rainbow Stew Cloggers will also be entertaining with some bluegrass dances followed by a class on Appalachian clogging to bluegrass music on Friday.

The other headliners at the festival are the Foggy Hogtown Boys, coming from Toronto. There are six other celebrated bluegrass groups from Vancouver, Victoria, Nanaimo and Eagle Bay, B.C.

There will be 50/50 draws, a chance to win a guitar and a Bluegrass idol competition. Here, winners can take home $250 cash and a paid gig at next year’s event.

Camping is free for weekend pass holders and there are showers on-site. Organizer Sheena McCorquodale said she’s really looking forward to the parking lot picking.

“What I consider to be the heart of bluegrass festivals is all the picking that goes on to the wee hours,” she said.

Beyond the entertainment on the grounds, free events will take place Saturday and Sunday morning at the Lighthouse Community Hall stage. From 8 a.m. to noon on July 2 is where Bluegrass idol will take place, as well as open stage.

On July 3 Bluegrass Gospel music will be provided by the Wildwood Church and the Island Gospel Centre, followed by open stage, and a pancake breakfast will be available both mornings.

McCorquodale said people can come for some free entertainment and see if they’d like to continue on over to the festival for the day.

“What I’m happy about is it’s for people who want a little sip of bluegrass and a pancake breakfast,” she said.

The festival begins Friday, July 1 at 1:30 and runs to 10 p.m. On Saturday and Sunday it runs from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

A weekend pass is $70 for adults and $65 for seniors and students, day passes are also available. Tickets will be available at the gate, beginning Thursday morning, June 30, at 9 a.m.

The festival happens at 240 Lions Way in Qualicum Bay. For more information on workshops, performers and more visit www.lighthousebluegrass.com.