As the now defunct band R.E.M. once sang: “It’s the end of the world as we know it. (And I feel fine.”)
Whether you believe in the Mayan’ calendar’s prediction of catastrophic world destruction on Dec. 21, 2012, or simply that the date signifies the annual occurrence of when the sun appears at noon at its lowest altitude above the horizon, it’s still a reason to party.
And that’s what the organizers of the inaugural Winter Solstice Celebration, Welcome Back the Light, at the Vernon Recreation Centre plan to do.
Billed as an inaugural event, organizers say there is meaning behind the choice of both the date and committing to this as a yearly event.
“The solstice is one of the most significant yearly passages in the cycles of the relationship of our sun to the earth. In the northern hemisphere, the winter solstice marks the darkest time of the year, the longest night, and the shortest day,” said Chris Madsen, event organizer.
“The theme bringing back the light is fitting. People around the world are waking up realizing that we all want a world where we all get along and the environment is allowed to thrive. The Welcoming Back The Light celebration is a chance for us all to come out and celebrate this beautiful vision circling the globe. Our similarities far outweigh any differences.”
To help celebrate “the end of time” in proper yuletide fashion, Welcome Back the Light will feature live music, dancing, spoken word as well as art and food vendors, said Madsen, an award winning acoustic guitarist who will also perform at the event.
Headlining is Vancouver’s Blackberry Wood, who are bringing their original high-energy, body shakin’, foot stompin’ cabaret spin on a broad range of musical genres, with numerous instruments, vocal melodies and fantastical costumes.
No strangers to the area, the band has previously entertained locals in Vernon’s Spirit Square for the Civic Sounds summer concert series, as well at the Komasket Music Festival.
Since coming to town last, Blackberry Wood has released its third album, Strong Man vs. Russian Bears, spent the spring touring the U.K., and performed at numerous summer festivals.
Also performing is Vernon-based singer-songwriter Tanya Lipscomb, who will use her three-octave voice to bare her heart and soul, and the Okanagan’s Expression Collective, featuring percussionist Angela Roy.
The party will start at 5 p.m. with a solstice blessing as well as a small talk on the significance of Dec. 21 2012, followed by the inspired poetry of James Blue Lotus, backed by Madsen on guitar.
Madsen will take the stage afterwards, followed by artists Rodrigo Rosales, Alana Pearl and Brent Enridge, respectively.
Closing the night will be a midnight set by DJ C-shift.
Tickets for the Welcome Back the Light 2012 inaugural Winter Solstice Celebration are $20 in advance at the Ticket Seller (250-549-7469, www.ticketseller.ca) or pay $25 at the door to the Vernon Recreation Centre auditorium.