Classic rock takes centre stage Peachland’s Dancin’ Barefoot Festival, as the musicians who penned Hot Child in the City get set to reunite
Jim McCulloch and Nick Gilder just might share a stage in Peachland at the Dancin’ Barefoot Festival on July 20 for the first time since the ’80s.
Among B.C.’s classic rock royalty, Gilder is turning what could have been a swan song of festival dates into a second-round rock n’ roll career, touring the country with a new version of Sweeney Todd, the group he and McCulloch started together in the ’70s.
McCulloch is hoping to come up from his home in Okanagan Falls to play a song or two with the reincarnated effort—a first in 30 years—and Gilder couldn’t be more thrilled.
“It’s just fun to play these songs that people really still enjoy,” said Gilder. “I do wonder how long it can last. How long can I expect to do this? How long will people still be interested in this?”
Sweeney Todd is known for its hit Roxy Roller and Gilder and McCulloch for Hot Child in the City, a song they launched after breaking from the rest of the band. The Juno Award-winning music was big enough to earn Gilder a slot on the roster for Canada Day on Parliament Hill upon his return to Canada.
Playing to 300,000 screaming fans decked out in red and white is a bit of a rarity for a classic rock act these days, but being able to stand the test of time has brought plenty of great opportunities his way.
After taking 20 years out to work as a writer in Los Angeles, he took a serious interest in getting and staying healthy and physically fit and has since been able to play with big bands of the era like Glass Tiger, Honeymoon Suite and Harlequin.
He was even offered a chance to play with Pat Benatar this year, though he had to turn it down—he was playing the Dancin’ Barefoot Festival.
As big a thrill as sharing the stage with some of the big names of the era can be, it still doesn’t beat time in front of an audience, he claims.
“It’s surprising to me that there’s a lot of young people that really like rock and have picked up on that scene,” said Gilder. “Moms bring their daughters or dads bring their sons.”
He’s playing the Mettawa, Ont. Voyager Days festival and Rock n’ Roar in Spanish, Ont. In Brandon, Man. they played the Trails West Inn and they’ll be at Whoop Up Days in Lethbridge, Alta.
“I quite like the festival scene, playing outside at night in the summertime; but the indoor thing is good too,” he said.
If there’s one way to describe Nick Gilder at 62, it’s grateful. From watching his salt and sugar intake and exercising to keep himself full of energy, to signing autographs on old posters his fans bring in with stories of where they were obtained, Gilder says he’s always willing to go the distance for that chance to keep the dream alive.
“It’s always a thrill,” he said. “I think if there’s any benefit to the years going by, it’s that you appreciate things more. When you’re young, it’s all happening so fast and so furious, when you’re older…I think I’m just enjoying it more.”
Of course, the ride along the way could not have been bad either. Writing for artists from Bette Midler to Joe Cocker and Benatar—not to mention Patti Smythe’s The Warrior—he managed to snag some plum assignments, even after his own popularity faded from the charts.
This great attitude and vitality caught the organizers of the popular Peachland festival’s attention.
This is the sixth year for the Dancin’ Barefoot Music Festival, a homegrown event started in Cousins Park by Elivs tribute artist Terry MacGillivray and carried on by his wife and daughter after his passing.