Country artist Tim Hicks returns to Kelowna’s Prospera Place for the second year in a row, this time opening up for Brantley Gilbert. (Jennifer Smith/Morning Star)

YEAR IN REVIEW: Top entertainers hit the Okanagan in 2018

Arts and Entertainment Editor reflects on the talent that has come to town

Transitioning to the arts and entertainment section of the newspaper has been a grateful opportunity for me.

Having spent the last 14 years covering hard news and politics, it’s nice to step back and enjoy the finer things in life.

And I much prefer the adrenaline of photographing live concerts over car accidents, floods and fires.

Whether it’s Canadian country stars like Brett Kissel or local legends like Anita Baturin, there’s nothing like a live show to get you pumped with excitement.

Lucky for me, with my photo pass in hand, I get the opportunity to take some amazing, up close and personal photos of a number of big names.

While Kissel was one exception that played in Vernon earlier this year, and more recently Dean Brody, most of the top performers head south to Kelowna or Penticton.

Having such amazing venues such as Prospera Place and the South Okanagan Events Centre so close is a blessing for all of us in the region. Sure it’s a bit of a drive to Kelowna or Penticton to take in a show, but that 45-90 minutes is less than some of our Lower Mainland friends spend getting to work every day.

Kelowna has treated me to a number of concerts, including country rocker Brantley Gilbert, in March, also joined by Tim Hicks and Josh Phillips.

It’s tough work covering all the stars, so sometimes I even put my camera down just so I can enjoy a show to myself. That was the case a couple months ago with a couple friends as we made a girls’ night of seeing Brothers Osborne at the SOEC in Penticton.

Most of this I was doing before taking over as A&E editor, therefore the transition was easy. And while I’ll always get a thrill out of the biggest stars that come to the Okanagan, I am becoming immersed in the wide array of talent that we have right here at home. From the Vernon Community Music School’s Glee Club to the tiny dancers on stage at local performances, they have captured my lens and my heart.

While The Tea Party and Dierks Bentley are on my must-see list for 2019, I’m also eager to explore the artistic abilities of Vernon’s stars.


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With his rockin’ attire and hard-core features, Brantley Gilbert gives his unique edge to country music as he performs for a packed house at Propsera Place in Kelowna in March 2018. (Jennifer Smith/Morning Star)

Brett Kissel holds up a sign from a young fan named Mackenzie during his show at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre in March, where he had the crowd partying like it was a Friday night. (Jennifer Smith/Morning Star)

Old Dominion lead singer Matthew Ramsey rocks the South Okanagan Events Centre stage in February for a packed house of country fans. (Jennifer Smith/Black Press)

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