After a long hot drive out (ah, Abbotsford, where the very hot air is redolent with pig shit...and all that wonderful construction delay) we arrived at Courtenay, B.C. for the Vancouver Island Music Fest. After an interminable delay while they cleared the stage of Roberta Flack stuff, and after I verbally re-capped the missing stage plot I had faxed them, we took the mainstage and had a ball. My band (Suitcase James, bass; Kevin Belzner, drums; Ron Casat, Hammond; Mike Clark, sax) plus the great Amos Garrett and myself on guitars, were joined in succession by Lester QuitzDave "Slim" Harris, Gary Preston, Roy Forbes and Paul Pigat for a rockin' good time. A mandolin workshop next day with Slim and David Essig, then a sidestage concert where the stage plot was exactly right from the get-go. Seeing Joan Dsborne with the Holmes Brothers was a highlight, as was guitar virtuoso Adrian Belew (also David Lindley and Little Feat on Sunday). Another highlight of the fest was getting to play Bryan Bowers' 1928 Gibson mando-cello (gorgeous). Thanks to AD Doug Cox, general get-it-done person Marcie Cox, and the sound crew and volunteers who work to make it one of the great festivals, and listen for it on CBC (thanks, Derek Bird).
Today we drove south to Nanaimo and caught the ferry to Gabriola Island, where I played a fun show at the Roxy (not bad for a Monday) and spent some interesting time in front of our B&B (The Hummingbird Lodge - beautiful) finding the several hundred dollars which fell from my vest pocket when I bent to pet a cat...miraculously we found all of it in the windy darkness and now it's bedtime. Tomorrow, a day off in Vancouver, and then the Harrison Festival of the Arts at lovely Harrison Hot Springs (may get the set recorded to dvd). Then listen to David Lindley again and head for Penticton to play maybe Canada's best small music venue, the Dream Cafe, on Saturday. Sunday Home !