Rock legend

Rock legend

Komasket brings in YES singer

Sixty-seven years old, with no signs of slowing down, legendary rocker Jon Anderson is stopping by Vernon to play at the Komasket Music Festival

  • Jul. 29, 2011 9:00 a.m.

Sixty-seven years old, with no signs of slowing down, legendary rocker Jon Anderson is stopping by Vernon to play at the Komasket Music Festival.

After decades of writing, producing, touring, partying, and raising children, the former frontman of the band YES has only one thing left to worry about… the music.

Life hasn’t slowed down much for the veteran rocker. He still loves to write and record music, and he still performs, playing any venue, big or small. But he does keep his touring schedule at a relaxing pace. Or at least his wife does.

“We’re a very simple operation when we’re on tour,” said Anderson, who packs little more than an acoustic guitar, and often only has five or six shows booked per trip.

“My wife takes care of all the touring, I just worry about the music,” he said, a little unsure of his upcoming touring route.

“I enjoy touring so much,” said Anderson. “Getting up on stage, singing songs and telling stories, there’s nothing better.”

The process of touring may have changed, along with the crowd, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing says Anderson.

“The crowd has aged a bit, and the venues are often smaller, but singing on stage is singing on stage,” he said.

“I can actually hear myself sing now.”

The crowd’s average age may have gotten older, but that doesn’t mean that there are no young faces to be seen in a sea of YES fans.

“You do see a few young people,” said Anderson via cellphone from Los Angeles. “There are people whose parents have been playing YES music since they were two years old.”

He has called Central California home for the past 15 years, with wife Jane.

“It’s lovely. We have a little cottage in the back where I work,” said Anderson, who still enjoys the writing and recording process immensely.

In his twilight years Anderson is embracing technology to take his music to the next level.

“I realized you could send MP3s through the internet,” said Anderson. “It was like opening Pandora’s box—whatever that means.”

It was this realization that led him to posting an ad on his own website saying “Musicians Wanted.” And the result, musicians from all over the world sent him their own music, sparking some of the most exciting collaborations of his career.

“I picked up 12 really talented people,” said Anderson.

“It’s moving toward a world studio,” said Anderson. “With things like Skype and live video chats, everyone can work together. It’s a whole new world.”

And with that new world comes a new sound. Anderson says the diversity of the music created from this experience ranges from ethnic to radio to acoustic music.

Although he grew up in England, Anderson has always had a natural curiosity for Native American culture.

“I’m very interested in it, you can tell,” he said. Since the beginning of the festival, Komasket has been hosted on the beautiful Okanagan Indian Band land on Okanagan Lake.

“In a way we’re all indigenous people,” said Anderson who is of English and Celtic desent. “We were all tribal at some point.”

The issues that surround aboriginal life in North America bother Anderson, especially in the United States where he says the segregation is more pronounced.

“In Canada it’s more mixed. It’s kinda cool,” he said, adding how excited he is to be sharing the stage with aboriginal icon Buffy Saint-Marie.

Anderson said he will be showing up to Komasket the day before, and is looking forward to checking out some of the other acts.

“I haven’t looked at the lineup yet, but we’ll be there. It should be fun.”

The 10th annual Komasket Music Festival takes place Friday to Sunday at Komasket Park on Westside Road. Other performers include Buffy Saint-Marie, Digable Planets, Maria in the Shower as well as countless vendors and workshops throughout the entire weekend. Daily and weekend passes still available.

For a full list of performers, ticket information and directions go to