For more than a decade the combination of live music, hot coffee and good company has made the Barnhartvale Coffee House a popular draw.
A big part of the success, according to founder Rosemary Ash, is the music and spirit of community that comes from being in an intimate venue like the Barnhartvale Community Hall.
“It’s about community. It’s not about having the perfect song,” Ash said Monday. “They (the musicians) are there to share their music. They aren’t there to be idolized.
On Saturday, Ash and fellow coffee house performers Blu and Kelly Hopkins offer a unique opportunity for those who want to perform at a coffee house.
The first of three planned workshops, the event runs from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the community hall.
Ash said the Hopkinses will focus on jam etiquette, back up playing, chord changes, soloing ideas and improvisation. Admission is $15 and people can register at barnhartvalecoffeehouse.com.
Saturday marks another first, this time for Ash: she is the feature performer during an evening coffee house performance.
Ash has performed at the coffee house numerous times but has never been the headliner before, she said.
“Traditionally there’s an open mic and then the feature performer,” said Ash.
The Hopkinses will also perform, along with fellow musicians Doug Noel, Nils Chase, Cherryl Rice, Grace Ezinga and many others.
Regulars to the coffee house will be familiar with Ash’s unique brand of music, which she describes as a mix of folk, country and bluegrass.
“I call it folk and cow grass,” she said. Ash sings and plays the guitar.
Ash started the Barnhartvale Coffee House in the spring of 1999 and was a regular presence there until 2002, when she moved to Newfoundland to be with family.
Not content to leave the lifestyle behind, she started coffee houses across Newfoundland and even obtained a grant from the provincial government to establish the venues as fundraising opportunities for community organizations, she said.
She resumed her role with the Barnhartvale Coffee House when she moved back to Kamloops about five years ago.
“It’s all about people getting together and having fun playing music,” said Ash. “We’re about fostering musicians, amateur and professional, who want a relaxed, alcohol-free environment to present their songs.”
Doors open for Saturday night’s show at 7 p.m. Tickets are $5.
More workshops are scheduled to take place in the fall.