Entertainment

Conduit Festival births new event

Jazz singer Leila Neverland and festival organizer Gabe Cipes will be part of this year
Jazz singer Leila Neverland and festival organizer Gabe Cipes will be part of this year's fertility festival in the spring.
— image credit: Jennifer Smith

Where there was once a winter festival that was a conduit to all the artsy organic green-themed fun in this city, a new event will be born.

Gabe Cipes, one of the main organizers of the Conduit Festival, is going away for the winter and the festival is moving to a new season with a new name—just for the year.

Held in the spring, this year's event will be a fertility festival and the organizers have a call out looking for ideas.

"A lot of the people that I'm getting connected to are people who are sort of on their own wave length and they're totally outside of the box," said Cipes, whose family owns Summerhill Pyramid Winery.

Cipes will be spending the winter learning viticulture at Okanagan College with plans to undo the mono-crop of grape vines they have on their Mission-area property in favour of adding all kinds of fruits, vegetables and herbs as infill between their grapes.

The whole experiment will get underway when he returns, just as Summerhill receives its demeter status from the Certified Organic Association of B.C., signalling its birth within the biodynamic movement.

A biodynamic farm uses special herbal and manure preparations to spur micro-organisms to grow and produce an ecosystem that sustains proper food growth.

As a celebration, the winery will host the fertility festival, inviting the alternative arts and organic enthusiasts—and everyone interested in what's happening—out to the winery for a little of the traditional poi spinning, ecologically-themed speakers, spoken-word poetry, art, music and fun that's marked the Conduit Festival.

Truth be told, the name change is nothing new for this particular event. Originally named Cake Walk, the name was immediately changed to Barnaval the following year, and a recycling theme picked up to launch the beginning of the green influence on the arts event.

The term "conduit" was then used to convey the idea that the festival should connect the community to a more natural way of living. The arts and creativity demonstrated would draw in the crowds and the message would be that the Okanagan lifestyle needs to become more sustainable.

"As far as climate change goes, it's coming and we need to really change how we're doing things if we want to continue living here," Cipes told the Capital News as the group prepared to adopt the conduit name in early 2010.

Now heading toward the fertility festival, with promises that the puppet shows will return and new theatre performances will be added, the organizers are turning to the community for input.

The call for art, music, crafts and ideas along a local, organic, zero waste theme has just gone out. Submissions can be made to conduitcollective@gmail.com

jsmith@kelownacapnews.com

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