Now into its third year, Voices of the Valley Nkemcin kicks off tomorrow, and Chris Bose took some time to talk about the festival with RPM. Featuring musical acts like Blackout Artists, Niska Napoleon, Sister Says, Skookum Soundsystem, and more, combined with traditional and contemporary Indigenous art, this Saturday in Nkemcin promises to be a good time.
RPM: How long has the festival been around?
CB: This is our 3rd year, it got started as part of the 100 anniversary of the Laurier Memorial, a declaration signed by the Chiefs in the Southern Interior and sent to Wilfred Laurier in 1910. I did some memorial poster updates and read that thing about 20 times, sadly, not much has changed.
RPM: Where did the idea for the festival come from?
CB: It grew out of the original celebration in 2010 and my chief of Cooksferry Indian Band, David Walkem asked me if I knew some musicians and artists and would be able to help get something started and organized annually at the location. I said sure and we've been working on it ever since. As it is in the valley, and right where the Nicola river and the Thompson river meet, it's a special place, it's got energy, and it's a beautiful facility and I'm very honoured to be able to help get this festival off the ground. We've got plans for next year and already 2 bands booked. I would like to make it 2 days next year, start on Friday and go Saturday. the Cooksferry Band are sponsoring this event and they've been awesome to work with, it's going seamless and they've been really accommodating.
RPM: Can you please tell us a little bit about the style of tattooing happening at the festival?
CB: That's Dion Kaszas, he's Nlaka'pamux, been studying basketry patterns, and tattoos of our people from wwwwaaaay back in THA day! Our people used to have a lot of tattoos, facial stuff, signifying land, status and other cultural things. He'll be doing traditional style hand poke tattoos, no machines. Unless things change.
RPM: You mention contemporary and traditional Native art on the web poster - what can we expect to see?
CB: That depends on who shows up? There's been a lot of interest from artists, it takes time to develop and grow a festival, and word to get around. I know I'll have some of mixed media art there for sale, prints, cards, posters, and there'll be cd's for sale of pow wow and hand drum stuff. I'm hoping to get some traditional artisans there, beading, basketry, buckskin, and foods. We'll have to wait and see. Next year I'd like to have a poetry slam, a film festival and more!!!
RPM: Are there any particular highlights people going should be looking out for?
CB: A beautiful weekend at Nkemcin, great music, free camping, arts, crafts, food, and a good time in high desert country. We got a great PA and light system, so Skookum Soundsystem should kick it and everyone else will have a good time. There's also an open mic from 5 - 7, so it should be fun and interesting!