Men, women and children dancing as performers play on a stage

Better than ever: Lovefest 2023

Lovefest will be returning to Cortes Island on August 12. 

“Lovefest just has its own momentum. It exists because the community wants it. There’s nothing political about it. We get to enjoy some good music, have fun together and just be with each other as a community,” explained Rex Weyler, one of the key organizers. 

Booths in the original 2017 Lovefest – Photo by Roy L Hales

Today’s program consists of an interview with Rex, intersperced with songs from three of the acts coming to this year’s Lovefest. 

We’ll start the music off with Adonis Peuentes, the first band that Rex mentioned in our interview.

(A clip from Adonis Puentes playing at the Harrison Arts Festival is in the podcast) 

RW: “We have five years of experience, so we’re getting a little better at it. We’ve got a great team. Soma Feldmar, Amy Robertson, Rick Bockner, myself and others are involved every year in putting it on. We have 50 volunteers, so all of that collected experience. Lonnie Taylor’s been helping from day one and Dancing Wolf does the decoration. He’s great at that.” 

“We have the Community Action Bus, which we had last year for the first time ever and the Community Action Bus comes from Victoria.  It’ll circle Cortes all day long, picking people up, bringing them and taking them home from the event. That really cuts down on the necessity for cars.”   

“That’s what I love about Lovefest. It’s evolving in a really nice direction because people are having a good time and want to contribute. I think we do a better job every year.” 

“What’s really special to me about this year is that we just have some great bands that have not been to Cortes yet.The Adonis Puentes Cuban band is going to be a killer.  A not new band that’s not been here before is also the Unfaithful Servants from Victoria.” 

“Pierre Schryer and Adam Dobres (photo at top of page) were here last year and they were just such a hit fiddle player and guitar player. They’re just so good  and played great fiddle dance music. People loved them, wanted them back, so they’re coming back.” 

RW: Our friends from Quadra Island, Willow, are a wonderful singing group. They were here in 2019. I love them, they’re just fantastic. 

Then a lot of our local favourites: Josephine Simpson grew up here; Michael Keith; Jemma Hicken,  Wiley Ferguson will bring his band. Wiley, by the way, had one of his compositions accepted by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.  Wiley’s a great musician, great guitar player; Brenda Hanson is going to play. A new singer songwriter we’ve never had before, Marianne Grittani, will be here. Many of the people on Cortes know Jesse Roy; Heather Wolfe and her band. 

(Brenda Hanson’s rendition of Black Velvet is inserted the podcast.)

CC: How did Lovefest come into being? 

RW: “The original idea was a just a one-off celebration of 50 years since the Summer of Love in 1967. It was my brother Doug’s idea, ‘We gotta do something to celebrate 50 years since the summer of love!’ So we did that in 2017 and it was fun. So we did it again in 2018 and then we did it again in 2019.  The name Love Fest just fell out of the ether  because  we called the first one 50 Summers of Love and the next one we called Love Fest. COVID hit, and then two years later we brought it back. This year is the fifth version of Love Fest. 

“We could do two days of music. There’s so many bands that want to play, so many local performers that want to play. We get requests now from bands all over BC and all over Canada and all beyond Canada, ‘Oh, we heard about the Lovefest on Cortes.’ We can’t book everybody every year. That’s the only regret.  It’s been proposed we do a separate day or we  do a second day or we do a separate event, but we’re not trying to get bigger.” 

“We have food vendors, arts and crafts vendors and social profits have booths.” 

“If people on Cortes want to come and be a vendor, let us know. You can talk with Soma Feldmar about food or Andrea Block about the arts vendors. We’re accepting volunteers.“Everybody’s easy to find.  If you want to get in touch with Lovefest, respond to one of the ads on Tideline. We’ll be posting all the information about volunteers, food and arts vendors, all of that.

“If you can get to one of the stores, the Natural Food co-op, the Cortes Market in Mansons, the Squirrel Cove General Store, the Gorge Marina store, or the Friday Market, early bird tickets ($35) will last until July1st.  Move fast if you want the early bird ticket, but there’ll be tickets all summer long in the stores and at the Friday Market.”

“It will just be a great show. Starts at 11 o’clock on Saturday, August 12th, and it runs until probably around 9:00-9 30 in the evening.” 

Music Credits for Podcast

Originally posted on June 26, 2023

Top image credit: Pierre Schreyer and Adam Dobray playing during the 2022 festival – Photo courtesy Lovefest

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