Nice Horse photo by Fawna Sidoryk
Central Music Festival is launching its fall season with an extra helping for the Red Deer Food Bank. In fact, all of the proceeds from the September 23 concert will help restock the local charity’s shelves.
“In this past year, we’ve raised $3,000. Guests at our concerts gave $1500 and we matched that dollar for dollar,” says CMF president Mike Bradford. Music lovers will be able to attend the evening, which will feature four excellent acts, for a $20 food bank donation. “This time we decided to do a great big party and give the whole gate to the food bank so they can bulk up in advance of their thanksgiving rush. If we can get 150 people at $20 per donation, I think we can double our contribution to the food bank this year,” Bradford adds. “There’s also potential for people to drop off food if they choose to do that.”
The Red Deer Food Bank Barbicrue will be on hand in the Elks Lodge parking lot, offering guests hamburgers and hot dogs, giving them a chance to recharge before local singer/songwriter Ross Stafford opens the show at 7:30. Stafford, Red Deer born and raised, has been a staple of the local folk scene for several years. He’ll give up the stage to another local talent, Kaylee Rose, who will perform a set of her excellent original material. “Kaylee Rose is a young songwriter who has a lot of talent,” he adds.
The evening will also be a welcome home for Bill Bourne, another central Albertan who has built a huge following world-wide over the past four decades, and will enjoy an evening with his home town fans. “Bill’s agreed to come down and do the show because he thinks it’s a great idea,” Bradford explains. The festival society has always been about its contribution to the local community and the food bank is a nice fit, both for the society and the people who attend its events.
The final act of the evening will be the return of Nice Horse, who played the Elks last year and then thrilled audiences at this year’s Westerner Exposition. “They’re an all Albertan band gaining traction in country radio, really entertaining, very real songs a lot of energy on stage. Their career trajectory is rising at a rapid rate right now, so we’re lucky we could get them. They also wanted to support this endeavour, Bradford says. “It will be like a mini-festival, with quick changes and a great sound.”
Bradford was reluctant to talk about rumours the society has an ambitious plan for the future. He wouldn’t deny that he’s had discussions about the possibility of seeing the Michener Centre lands turned into an outdoor culture campus for live events across a full spectrum of music and culture. “I can tell you its a great idea, but practically, in the transition of that property from the provincial government and the city, it would take a lot of time and doing. I’ve talked to both and they thought it was a great idea, but who knows what will happen. I don’t get into politics, but it would be something worth pursuing with city and county politicians once the elections are over,” he said.
For now, the focus is the Food Bank, where demand, Bradford says, shows no sign of levelling off, let alone dropping off.