It’s time to golf with Gonzo Okanagan

It’s time to golf with Gonzo Okanagan

Illustrations and Story by Shane Collins
Copywrite Gonzo Okanagan

I keep looking up to the sky these days. Heavy, bloated clouds seem to bumper-car themselves across the endless expanse overhead and they bring the rain, the wind and fatten the streams and the creeks and the lakes rise and we gather sandbags and prepare for the worst.

Combine the doldrum weather with the rising costs of simple existence these days, I look forward to those events that pop up like dandelions around the Okanagan and bring with them the warm fervor of live music. It soothes my soul and since I am here to tell stories and sound alarms about such events, I’m particularly excited for the Gonzo Okanagan Golf Tournament and Fundraiser that will be hosted up at Sunset Ranch Golf Course this Saturday, June 25. 

The concept is unique: Plop a local band down at each tee box and then throw a big party with live music afterwards. There’s only 18 holes on a golf course, but somehow, Brad Krauza, the wizard behind the curtain of this event, has somehow locked down 22 local artists to perform throughout the tournament. There’s food and drinks and an incredible lineup of musicians on the main stage.

Bands like Cod Gone Wild, Scotty Berg, Songs of the Southern Belles, Roger Gabriel, Raquel Cole, The Chris Buck Band, Dirt Road Opera and The Washboard Union will be there, ready to rock. All the money will be used to help support our local musicians here at home and if there is any kind of event I want to be a part of its one that takes its earnings and helps get it to where it’s needed. 

Tickets are on sale NOW!

I’ve done my sun dance. I’m asking you to do yours. I aimed my hands up to the skies and bursted every darkened cloud like balloons at a carnival. I have nothing but confidence that this event will not only experience better weather, but it will bring together a crowd that will see a perfect day for a good game of ‘Whack-F#ck’… I mean… golf and I see in my mind’s eye an evening of dancing and singing set against the lush backdrop of Sunset Ranch and the Okanagan skyline beyond the horizon line. 

Gonzo Okanagan has put up money and time and has undergone all the untangling of tasks that aspirin, bourbon and coffee were invented for. The endless organizing of such an event is hardly a task designed for the faint at heart. Vendors and bands and sponsorships and advertising and scheduling and again, the hope that the skies won’t let us down, ALL of it has been tackled and tamed and I really want to commend Brad and his team for getting this together.

Tickets are still available. Will I see you there, dear reader? Will you brave the last of this dismal spell of June and celebrate with us out there at Sunset Ranch and dance away the spring and welcome in the Summer? I surely hope so. I’d love to take your picture and see you out there enjoying an event that not only brings us all together, it also celebrates the end of the pandemic, the end of the spring and it will help fund more live events in the near future and help musicians get themselves out there for you to enjoy. 

This is what the Gonzo Okanagan Fundraising Association was built for. They’ve been out there, supporting the community for a while now. And finally, in the year 2022, they’re stepping it up a notch. It’s an exciting time to be in this industry, despite the daunting realities of trying to earn a buck in the game. 

Support has been mounting. There are so many local sponsors, from Cleaning Angels to Kelowna Now to K96.3FM that have helped get this off the ground I dare not list them all for I may break my keyboard. Even Allan Reid, CEO of the Juno Awards has announced his support for the event. 

I hope to see y’all there for some top notch entertainment and we can collectively say goodbye to the spring and usher in the summer in style. Grab a ticket and come on out. You won’t regret the fun and you’ll feel good about your hard earned money going to the right kind of cause.

Personally, I’m not much of a golfer, but I’ve never seen bands on every tee box before and who knows, maybe this is what it’ll take for me to get on board with chasing a little white ball around. Regardless, after two years of wondering what life after the pandemic would look like and in the midst of high inflation and gas prices and food costs and quitting my day job and all the warring abroad… live music on a golf course. It’s a story worth telling. An event worth seeing. A cause worth supporting. 

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The Okanagan’s been my home since I was born. Life has taken me across the planet several times and through that transient lifestyle I developed a journalistic style to my photography and to my writing. My influences would be that of James Nachtwey, Annie Lebovitz, Ashley Maile, Hunter S Thompson, Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, Tom Robbins, Wes Anderson and Charles Bukowski. The world outside this incredible valley, its cultures and its mystery is what’s kept me working and trying to save my money, so I can keep getting back into the world. That’s the way it used to be. Covid has opened my eyes to the land I call my home and there are so many tales to tell right here in BC. From tales of the impoverished to the neglected to those who overcome adversity, to the spirit to overcome fear, the power of storytelling has never been more relevant. I’ve always been a storyteller. There’s a tale worth telling in every neighborhood. I just happen to write about what happens to me along the way and I’ve kept them close to my heart, hoping one day I’ll have an outlet so I can tell those stories the best way I know how; by writing them down. From adventures of long ago, both here or maybe far away, future interviews with musicians, artists of all kinds, the coverage of events, the people I meet along the way, whatever I get up to I intend to have you as my guest as I go back in time and dig up the bones of those old adventures or chase down new ones. Through the alchemy of storytelling, you can come along with me if you like. Before Covid-19 I was really coming into my own photographing live shows; punk rock bands, hip hop showcases, tattoo portraits, rock climbing adventures, Femme Fatale burlesque performances you name it, the phone was finally beginning to ring. Then Covid showed up like a hurricane and I guess it wiped us all out in one way or another. I have a real bone to pick with Covid-19 and if I can share some stories for our readers to enjoy, I’ll do that and when we can return to live music and to foreign travel and we can safely get to working on mending what’s been damaged I tell you I want to be ringside like Joe Rogan commentating on Covid getting its ass whooped. I want to see it tap out and watch us overcome this hardship, raise our collective hands triumphantly and move on into whatever new normal is waiting for us. I’ll be there and through my eyes, just like the boss man, Hunter himself, I’ll do it in Gonzo fashion and bring you kicking and screaming along with me. So hold on tight and dig in. It might not always be pretty but I won’t call it all ugly, neither. That’s for you to decide. My name is Shane Collins and I hope you’ll read along with me and our team here at


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