` Columbia Journal- Point Roberts Festival
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Point Roberts Festival Delightful-Safety Circuit and All
by Mark Bignell

The 7th Annual Point Roberts Arts and Music Festival on August 3 and 4, BC Day Long Weekend, was just the tonic needed. A well deserved escape from the rigors of the city.

Situated on the cozy beach of Lighthouse Marine Park, just over the border from Tsawassen. Each year, singer/songwriter/musician and organizer of the festival Criag Jacks, recording guru John Shepp, from Utopia Parkway Studios, and a host of generous organizations, help make this most delightful of festivals a reality.

For the kids, there were workshops galore all day. For the more craft-minded people, there were over 30 booths on the boardwalk offering everything from aboriginal art to archival material from the historical society.

Some of the most impressive performances included a daring and deconstructive set by cellist Tyr Jami and mandolin player Todd MacDonald of the Winks. Both are well versed in their instruments, and offered the more adventurous listener a good sampling of their more experimental muse. Chamber music for more restless spirits! For further enlightenment, visit: www.thewinks.net.

Jeff Shucard and Sweet Papa Lowdown gave the fest a tasty slice of the 1940s Dixieland and down home blues. Jeff even broke away from his usual mellow demeanour a few times on his 6-string, which kept things from being too laid, back.

Doug Andrew and Brian Barr of Circus In Flames proved they can be a formidable force, even without the full compliment. Doug was in fine form, with his quivering, high-energy vocals, and Brian followed suit with his tactful mandolin and slide guitar playing.

Craig Jacks and John Shepp were also the festival's Most Valuable Players, sitting in with what seemed like half a dozen bands, due to the absence of some musician--thanks to the, at times, over zealous border patrol. I was handed the reins of sound engineer, and did a fine job according to attentive witnesses.

There were some audio problems with the PA, but, thankfully, nothing serious enough to shut things down. "It's the safety circuit, you know?"

Jon Wood of Flophouse Junior sat in with several acts himself, one being the very charming Shelley Campbell and her group Auburn. Shelley was in fine voice, sending your heart a fluttering with her soulful, soothing tones and heart tweaking melodies. Also included in her set: witty banter, which was oddly funny at times, courtesy of this disembodied voice that came out of nowhere.

A lovely set! If her music doesn't move you, check for a pulse. Visit www.auburn.ipfox.com for more bliss!

Finally Bocephus King arrived, looking a bit worse for wear, but pulling off a dynamic set, with, you guessed it, Jon Wood, sitting in on pedal steel, with what seemed to a rag-tag group of last minute Rigalettos, with usual guitarist, Paul Rigby on bass, studio wiz-John Shepp on drums, and Mike Kenney (Crash, Spacious Couch) on keyboards.

All in all, a marvellous fest in Point Roberts. We'll do it all again next year!! Don't worry!! "It's the safety circuit, you know?"

Mark Bignell is a Vancouver broadcaster and advocate and promoter for local music. His show Radio Bandcouver can be heard Fridays 10pm-Midnight on Vancouver Cooperative Radio, CFRO 102.7 FM. He can be reached at bandcouver@hotmail.com or the website www.mp3.com/bandcouver

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