Vernon’s Barefoot Caravan

Celebrate 2014 at Vernon’s Freedom Dance

Be free this New Year’s Eve for the all-local event featuring Okanagan DJs and bands.

It’s time to party like its 2014 when both organic and electronic sounds meet for a night of dancing.

Okanagan-based DJs and bands are dropping the ball this New Year’s Eve for the aptly titled Freedom Dance at Vernon’s Elks Hall.

“The event is about celebrating local arts and culture for the community by the community,” said Angela Roy, singer/percussionist with Vernon-based band Barefoot Caravan, one of the acts playing the jam-packed lineup.

“We have so much local talent here. It is truly remarkable.”

The dance starts with an open mic jam from 8:30 to 9:15 p.m.

“Those wishing to be a part of the jam will receive $5 off their ticket,” said Roy, adding artists wishing to participate can contact her at 250-212-7594.

Performing after the jam is electronic music artist Gtab, known for his funky breaks thrown with a little electro flavour.

Gtab has played numerous outdoor shows around the Kootenays, Banff and in collaborations with the Golden Delicious crew.

Known for their high energy engaging and interactive shows, Barefoot Caravan, who will take the stage after Gtab, is a five-piece band that performs indigenous songs in various languages that represent the people of the world.

Combining these traditional songs with upbeat rhythms and three-part harmonies, the band writes and performs original music with a reggae, Afro-Cuban, ska and gypsy flavour.

Featured at the Arts Wells and Salmon Arm Roots and Blues festivals this past summer, Barefoot Caravan recently completed a school residency program in the Kelowna school district, performing 41 shows in three weeks.

The band is also currently recording a vinyl album.

DJ David Beaudoin, aka “FroggyStylz,” will get the crowd jumping when he takes over the decks after Barefoot Caravan with his earthy, simple and funky sound.

Growing up in Québec City, Beaudoin was inspired at a very young age by the street performers of the Old Capitale to become a talented hand percussionist and teacher. Now based in Lake Country, he is a host and DJ for weddings and parties, a storyteller, as well as a staff fire dancer.

Kelowna band Crowd the Joanna, who take over the stage right after toasting the new year at midnight, are known for  their  boot-stomping, whiskey-hollering, hoedown full of sea chanteys and drinking hymns.

“This band is a rock riot — their tone and brutal presence of folk/bluegrass-inspired music is genius. Not only is it rowdy and celebrated, the band combines an easy listening tone with gritty punk roots,” said  Jeff Stychin on Kelowna site, Awesome Okanagan.

Dancers can revel when local DJ Molokaii, aka Solomon (Solo) Kaleikini, cranks up his bass-heavy beats to top off the night.

No stranger to the bass, having played electric bass guitar for many years in many bands and building custom bass guitars under the name kemaguitars, Molokaii’s love for the low end eventually brought him to the electronic music scene. He now specializes in original production, rounding out his sets with edits and remixes.

Molokaii has warmed the floor for Colorado’s Love & Light via, for An-Ten-Nae (in Victoria) and playing in conjunction with Bird of Prey, Mr. Bill, and Natural Alchemy, among others.

He is motivated by the Okanagan’s thriving music scene, where he is a resident DJ at Kelowna’s Arcade and has played numerous times with Sentient Sound (Basswave) at The Grateful Fed in Kelowna.

Doors to the Freedom Dance at the Elks Hall, 3103 30th St., downtown Vernon, open at 8 p.m Tickets are $25 each, available in advance at the Bean Scene Coffee House. Appetizers, courtesy of Uncle Dave’s Pizza, are included in the cost and will be served between 8 and 10 p.m.

The Freedom Dance is a licensed event for 19-plus, however, event organizers are welcoming families for the Children’s Midday New Year’s Eve celebration, also Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Okanagan Centre for Spiritual Living in Vernon.

“Just because your bedtime is well before 12 a.m. doesn’t mean you need to miss out on all the fun this New Year’s Eve,” say organizers. “Grab your mom, dad, sisters and brothers and join us as we ring in the New Year midday.”

The event will feature crafts, cookie decorating, games, entertainment, lunch and a countdown to midday with a balloon drop, noise makers and sparkling cider.

Entertainment will be provided by children’s performer Robin Redvest, a juggler and others.

Cost is $10 per family at the Bean Scene, or $15 at the door. The Okanagan Centre for Spiritual Living is located at 2913 29th Ave.


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