Shelly Vida toasts another great year directing the WAM! fundraiser for the Rotary Centre for the Arts. Below: Kinshira's Letisha SaTurn Binette-McBride performs at WAM! 2013.

WAM! set to rock its fourth year in Kelowna

Fundraiser to support the Central Okanagan's Rotary Centre for the Arts offers wine, art and musical entertainment

  • May. 9, 2014 5:00 p.m.

WAM! If it sounds like an event that’s meant to go off, cymbals smashing, horns blaring, bubbly flowing, you’re on the right track.

Add the farm-to-table crowd, and a new social interactive platform for guests to rate wine tastings from a Smartphone, and one has the fourth annual Wine, Art and Music fundraiser for the Rotary Centre for the Arts.

“We try to do more on the entertainment side than some of the more wine-fest type events,” said organizer Shelly Vida, noting WAM began as an add-on to the spring Okanagan Wine Festival and, with very little promotion, has grown to a top fundraiser for the non-profit arts centre.

Like every event, there are add-ons and nuances each year to draw return quests.

For 2014, it’s the social interactive platform attendees can use to rate the string of wineries they are sampling, a Twitter lounge and helicopter ride for four as a door prize.

WAM!Valued at $650, the half-hour tour of Myra Canyon, the trestles, Little White and Crawford Canyon is worth a half dozen tickets in and of itself, but the stable to this affair is always the blend of local entertainers one cannot find anywhere else.

Susan Seel’s accordion will transport guests to Paris in one room, for example, while the Kinshira Performance Group spin poi like they are in a beach in Hawaii.

“We’re a building that’s designed for the arts,” said Vida. “We already do well with all the visual and performing arts programming in the building and we use this one event per year to bring people in, to bring in the culinary arts and showcase it.”

Playing in the main atrium The Trips—with celtic violinist Shamma Sabir, Graham Ord on guitar, Joshua Smith and his stand-up Elvis bass, and Jesse Padgett on banjo—will mix their melodies to provide a foot-stomping bluegrass vibe. Local dancer and choreographer Lucy Hazelwood’s Luki Dance Productions will bring the Triple Threat Halftime show to the stage and then there will be farmers, wineries and chefs.

From Hillside Bistro to Ex nihilo and Nk’Mip the wine and food samplings  on offer will come from every corner of the valley.

“It’s a pretty inclusive, easy night out and a great way to help the arts,” said Vida. “…There’s not many events that will have the food that we’ll have, the farmers and a ride home.”

On the farm end, Arlo’s Honey will be on site, along with Okanagan Lavender Farm and even some new producers, like the winemakers from 50th Parallel. Turner Audi Volkswagen provides complimentary rides home.

Much of the event is still taking shape, so organizers are keeping many things a surprise at this stage, waiting to unveil what’s on offer at as the day draws near. For those who love the Okanagan Photo Star photo booth, Vida says they won’t be disappointed, but otherwise attendees just have to stay tuned to the Wine, Art, Music Facebook page and the Rotary Centre for the Arts webpage.

Tickets are $89, available at or $80 for groups of 10. The event is targeted at 400 guests this year and run June 14.

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