WHITE ROCK – Most bands passing through B.C. only perform north of the Fraser River, but one local artist wants that all to change for at least one day per year.
Alternative-rock musician Daniel Wesley is spearheading the inaugural Rock the Valley music festival, to be held this year in White Rock on Sept. 21. He aims to turn it into an annual event, and hopes it will encourage artists to perform all over the Lower Mainland – not just Vancouver.
“I’m starting on a smaller scale this year,” he said. “I thought we’d do the first one in White Rock, my birth town, at the Star of the Sea.
“I want to start putting on a yearly event in the Lower Mainland to bring some good bands out and hopefully build it to a bigger and bigger thing, like an outdoor event.”
Wesley – who will headline this year’s festival, with funk-and-soul septet The Boom Booms opening – hopes to pack the 500-person multi-use hall, located at 15262 Pacific Ave., for the kick-off show. He added that he wants the festival to draw more attention to communities outside of Vancouver that have a lot to offer local, national and international musicians.
“I want to get communities involved where bands don’t always seem to go,” he said. “People always play Vancouver, but nobody seems to go into the valley that often.”
He said Rock the Valley, “is so people don’t have to drive over a bridge to go to a concert.”
With the festival set to run outside of the typical live music markets, Wesley said he’s hoping the show will draw in people from surrounding areas like Langley, Surrey and Abbotsford – cities that could host future editions of the festival, he noted.
“Every year, I’m probably going to change the city just to give it some diversity and try to get as many communities involved,” he said.
While Wesley has organized his own shows before, this is his biggest to date as a promoter.
“I’m going to be playing shows regardless, so I might as well try to put on my own event,” he said. “I’m literally doing everything – I’m booking the hall myself, putting up posters myself. Every aspect of it, me and my family are taking care of it. They’ll be bartending and running the door as well, so it’s quite a family affair.”
Because of the on-site liquor, the show is 19-plus, but Wesley is looking to make future festivals all-ages.
Wesley will perform a mostly electric set with his band, throwing in a few acoustic songs and some covers, and a potential jam session with The Boom Booms. Fans can expect hits like “Head Outta Water,” “Ooo Ooh” and his recent radio single “Fuel to Fire” to make it into his set.
“I kind of pick four or five songs from each album and kind of go from there,” he said. “It’s usually a pretty long set because I have six albums.”
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