On a hot Saturday afternoon on Aug. 6, Deer Lake Park saw hordes of people waltz in with their picnic mats and folding chairs for the Burnaby Blues + Roots Festival. Large groups sat clustered under the shade of trees, some rested against large rocks, and some others stood by the mosh pit grooving to every song that the many bands performed.
Blues artists Brandon Isaak and Jack Levin kicked off the festival, which was returning after a two-year break, giving the audience a taste of what to expect the rest of the evening. Theirs was followed by singer-songwriter Robert Connely Farr's deeply moving numbers and Balkan Shmalkan’s funky dance brass beats.
People listened, even as they headed to the row of food trucks to get a chilled lemonade and hot grilled sandwich; or stood next to their tykes as they got their faces painted at the family zone. The music continued to flow — from Métis/Slovakian singer-songwriter Ruby Waters’ soulful chords, to The Soul Rebel’s refreshing twist on New Orleans’ brass tradition and Kathleen Edwards’ rock and roots fusion.
Slowly, the crowd thickened as the sun began its dip. By the time the Grammy award-winning band The War on Drugs got on to the stage, the vast green grounds of Deer Park turned into what seemed like a rave dance floor. The sky turned dark, the stage got brighter, and several hands went up in the air as the music poured — sometimes mellow, sometimes high-spirited, just like the band's own song Occasional Rain.
Photographer Jennifer Gauthier captured the day in images. See a gallery of highlights above.