The inaugural Indigenous Music and Arts Festival comes to West Kelowna July 6 and 7. (Photo: Indigenous Music and Arts Society)

Indigenous festival co-creator looking to build traditional Okanagan event

The inaugural Okanagan Indigenous Music and Arts Festival is July 6 and 7

Okanagan Indigenous Music and Arts Festival co-creator Danielle Crowe plans to add to tradition this summer.

The upcoming festival will celebrate its inaugural kick-off in July, the two-day event will bring local artists together to celebrate diverse Indigenous cultures with music, dance, workshops and more.

Crowe said that it’s important to embrace history while building towards the future and striving to make the festival an annual attraction in the Okanagan.

“I hope the festival goes on forever,” she said.

“It’s about embracing the culture of the land and I thought the best way to bring it to the public was with a festival. Twenty-five years from now, we’ll be thanking the next generation that’s going to take the festival over.”

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Created with her partner Jenny Money, the festival was a way for Crowe to get in touch with her Indigenous background. She hopes that the music and cultural envelopment will spread to others in the Okanagan, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, as a celebration of local cultures.

With a packed line-up that led to turning away other artists and having to open a second stage, the buzz heading into the inaugural year has been growing for the first-time festival.

She said that it wasn’t easy to create a music festival like this out of thin air.

“There were times there was doubt, where we wanted to push it back to next year,” Crowe said.

“But sometimes you gotta listen to the universe and it was basically screaming at us to do it.”

READ MORE: Okanagan Indigenous Music and Arts Festival fills void in Kelowna’s summer celebrations

The inaugural festival line-up includes Juno winner Kelly Fraser, Indigenous/EDM/Hip-Hop group Mob Bounce, “gypsy blues band” Blue Moon Marquee and more.

It’s a mix of traditional and contemporay music that Crowe hopes to continue to highlight in the next 25 years of the festival.

“We’re focused on youth and upcoming artists and helping them get known and celebrate the variety of music throughout the Okanagan,” Crowe said.

The Okanagan Indigenous Music and Arts Festival is July 6 and 7 at Johnson Bentley Memorial Park.

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