Oh the sweet, sweet sounds of summer

Oh the sweet, sweet sounds of summer

Photo credit and copyrights to Shane Collins & Gonzo Okanagan

How’s everyone doing out there? The summer has flown by with the grace of a July that didn’t have us coughing up our lungs; gagging and choking on the burning smoke of formidable forest fires. That was last year.

Like Goldilox, 2022 hasn’t been too hot or too cold here in the Okanagan. However, as I write this, there are now fires burning within our valley and high temps are on their way for next week so maybe I’ll keep it short on my rosy admiration for the weather. 

2022 is rife with global instability. War rages on multiple fronts out there in the world. Looming recessions. Interest rate hikes. Prices are up across the board from fuel to food. Yeah, there’s lots of stress to go around. That’s why I’ve always turned to music. It just seems like the right kind of medicine when nothing else is working. 

This past evening, (Friday, August 5) I attended Red Bird Brewing’s NEST FEST — the five-year anniversary of the establishment’s epic journey. From humble beginnings, it has grown to great heights and with the sites outdoor venue, indoor layout, friendly staff, the delicious pizza and thirst quenching beer, Adam and Mitch and their whole team have really persevered through construction delays, a global pandemic and all the nightmarish headaches it must have caused and narry did this crew waiver or surrender. 

The crowd goin off!

I brought my camera into the ruckus crowd of gorgeous people and I saw, as I have many times within the embrace of this place, the loving energy that is expressed with a dance floor packed with its patrons dancing freely, safely and with a confidence that comes not from just the drink but from the open air, the people who are attracted to this establishment and the array of quality musicians that are drafted to dawn its stage. 

538 st

Red Bird Brewing seems to have something unique. Just look over the crowd. Besides the enthusiastic energy, you have ages ranging from early 20’s to mid 40’s making up the crowds majority. And the sound is on point. The artists are wide ranging, all of them examples of the top level of talent that resides right here in our own town.

Perfect example of that, I watched this cool looking band take the stage and I was delighted to the funky grooves of Kelowna’s 538 st.

If my photos turn out blurry it’s because I was dancing at the same time.

After them, I was hit in the face with the deep bass beats of MANTEASAH, and holy crap this crew just keeps getting better and better. Then it was the jumping electricity of A CASE OF THE MONDAYS. The crowd really got goin with this duo. Then RUMPUS breaks out electric drums and the crowd has become one mass of thrashing maniacs.

Case of the Mondays

After that, it’s the dreamy duo sensation of JESSU & PYKA… we’re lifted up into the night to conclude the evening. I was a sweaty mess with over a thousand photos to go through. One of the best nights of the year. Hands down. 

I was inspired and created a Spotify playlist of some of the festival’s artists. I made a little playlist here.

This weekend also hosted, ROCK THE LAKE, featuring legendary rock acts like TROOPER, NAZARETH, FLOCK OF SEAGULLS, EVE 6, MOIST, BIF NAKED and TEA PARTY. I’m stoked to photograph a few of these bands. Especially the Tea Party. Always wanted to see them. 

MOIST at Rock the Lake 2022

I’m excited for all of this for one big reason: LIVE MUSIC IS BACK! It wasn’t long ago that Covid-19 nearly decimated live events all together. I wondered if I’d ever get back to the camera and to live music again. Well, here we are, two years later and not only has it all returned, but it has returned with vigor. Like zombies resurrected from the dead, musicians flood the scene, waiting to unleash their pent up prowess onto the endless mass of spectators willing to throw their money down. We just need more venues to handle the demand and I am hopeful that one day, not far from now, that demand will be met. 

There’s lots of summer left and there’s lots still to look forward to. Here at Gonzo, we’re doing our best to keep everyone updated on what’s coming down the line. If you’re looking for shows to see, we have a directory. If you’re a musician looking to let people know your gig is coming up, we have a directory. 

The Tea Party

These are the dog days of summer. Photographing these shows have been a reminder for later on in life, when winter comes and your body just yearns for some sunshine. It’s nights like these I love to look back on because they remind me of warm summer nights, filled with music and the hot energy of a crowd.

Nights like these really are the sweet, sweet sounds of summer and I love it when they get stuck in my head. 

David Usher of MOIST
The Tea Party
And still more Tea Party!
Previous articleSearch begins Big Bother 11 cast
Next articleJUNO Award-Winning Singer-Songwriter Joel Plaskett kicks off the 2022-23 SPOTLIGHT Season
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 Gonzookanagan.com


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.