Festival of the diverse

From hip hop to gypsy jazz to progressive, there is one music festival in the Kootenay aiming to offer something to satisfy everyone’s musical tastes.

A performer from last year's Starbelly Jam Festival.

A performer from last year's Starbelly Jam Festival.

From hip hop to gypsy jazz to progressive, there is one music festival in the Kootenay aiming to offer something to satisfy everyone’s musical tastes.

Crawford Bay has hosted the Starbelly Jam Festival for the last 12 years and has invited musicians like hip hop duo Blackalicious and Michael Franti and Spearhead to take the stage.

This year’s Starbelly goes July 15 to 17.

“The depth of the lineup is really impressive this year. There are no weak spots in the line up. All the artists are interesting and innovative,” said Todd Halfnight, artistic director for Starbelly.

Halfnight started working with the festival as an organizer five years ago, but even before that he was working there as a food vendor.

“I really enjoyed the festival atmosphere, and the community the festival creates,” he said.

Since then he has seen the event grow. Organizers are spending more money to draw big name artists.

But even though Starbelly has been able to draw big performers, it still maintains the community feel that drew Halfnight.

“We still keep the same kind of intimacy, but we are also getting more diversity in the lineups,” he said.

This year some of the headlining acts include: Midnite from the U.S. Virgin Islands, The Coup with DJ Pam the Funkstress, The Lost Fingers and Canadian singer songwriter Ron Sexsmith.

“I think that almost anyone could come to the festival and feel relaxed and feel like they relate to something. Even younger people who like hip hop, they can come and see a headliner outside of that genre and really enjoy the experience. And they may even see their parents there enjoying a totally different act,” said Halfnight.

He said that Starbelly has aimed to be a reflection of the region.

“It’s a really diverse community. There isn’t really just one group of people, and that’s not always the case in rural BC. It’s a real reflection of the community,” said Halfnight

Tickets are available in Nelson at Pack Rat Annie’s, Still Eagle, Love of Shiva and Ripping Giraffe. Tickets can also be purchased online.

The full lineup and festival information is also available through the website — starbellyjam.org.