Twenty-one years of blues, folk, funk and soul provided thousands of people with ample reason to celebrate at this weekend's annual Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival.
The mix of artists, who ranged from smaller acts such as Oh! Ogopogo! to musical icons such as Bruce Cockburn, offered something for everyone, be they first-time visitors or people who attend year after year.
"Viva Salmon Arm," Saturday night's emcee yelled between acts. Hundreds of people cheered in response.
The main attraction Saturday was Canadian folk icon Bruce Cockburn, who took to the festival ground's main stage shortly before 9 p.m. Several people in the crowd chanted
"Bruce, Bruce, Bruce" right before he appeared.
Bathed in blue light, Cockburn wasted no time digging right into more than an hour of music to the delight of everyone in the packed field in front of him. He played a mix of songs from throughout his career, including lesser-known new tracks to classics like Night Train and Lovers in a Dangerous Times. It didn't matter what he played, the crowd responded with enthusiasm.
Lovers in a Dangerous Time prompted many people to sing along and cheer.
"We love you Bruce," was heard several times throughout his performance.
"Thank you," said Cockburn.
Cockburn didn't engage in much banter between songs. Instead he focused on playing his guitar and keeping fans entertained.
There were plenty of other acts to enjoy throughout the weekend, including City and Colour, the alias for singer songwriter and former Alexisonfire vocalist and guitarist Dallas Green. He shut the festival down Sunday night,
Cockburn shared the main stage Saturday with Juno-nominated blues and jazz vocalist Shakura S'Aida, U.S. Rock and blues act Tommy Castro and the Painkillers and Belgian singer Selah Sue. S'Aida kicked the evening off, and soon had everyone transfixed on the stage and several large screens.
The festival was Castro's first performance at Roots and Blues.
"You have a wonderful festival here," he said. "Thank you very much for having us."
Volunteer George Svendsen was one of those who tapped his toes to the music. Although not scheduled to start work until 8 p.m., he came early to take in the performances.
Recently retired but a long-time Salmon Arm resident, Svendsen had never attended Roots and Blues before. He thought volunteering would be a good way to check the event out and connect with his community now that he isn't working.
"It's very good," he said, adding the festival was a fun way to start his retirement. "The people here are great; all the workers, all the volunteers."
Even when he didn't have time to stop and watch the performers, he could still hear the music, said Svendsen.
"You can still have fun," he said.
This marked the fourth Roots and Blues Myrna Hack has attended. Her husband owns Watson Trucking and donates a trailer for use at the event every year. And her daughter does the bookkeeping for the festival and gives her recordings of all the acts so she can pick and choose who she wants to hear.
"I cheat," she said.
She almost lost track of everyone she'd listened to, but Rita Chiarelli, Ky-Mani Marley and The Harponist and the Axe Murderer were among the dozen or so she enjoyed through the weekend.
"I came to see Bruce," she said, adding Cockburn was a festival highlight.
Her friend, Mary Jane Hunt, could hear the music from her home a couple of blocks away.
She said there's no escaping Roots and Blues, and no way she'd want to.
"I sit on my patio and I listen," she said.