Claire Lynch headlines the new Cowichan Valley Bluegrass Festival, which sashays into Laketown Ranch June 14-16. (Norm McGuire photo)

Sooke Bluegrass festival relocates to Laketown Ranch at Lake Cowichan

The big venue at Lake Cowichan adds another jewel to its crown with new event June 14-16

A new festival with deep South Island roots is moving to the Cowichan Valley, and bringing some big names with it.

The Cowichan Valley Bluegrass Festival is announcing its inaugural event at Laketown Ranch June 14-16, 2019.

According to Phil Shaver, festival president, “the all-ages, family-friendly festival will bring a new experience to fans familiar with our former site at Sooke, which we had outgrown after 16 successful Sooke River Bluegrass festivals, where sites at that location sold out months in advance.”

The suitability of the Lake Cowichan site made it time to move.

“Our new venue at Laketown has ample camping capacity, better day parking and improved accessibility for those with mobility challenges. Nestled amid the high hills of the beautiful Cowichan Valley, the site is close to the amenities of the area including wineries, lakes, hiking, cycling, house boating and all that the gorgeous region has to offer,” he said.

“To help launch our festival at our exciting new location, we are thrilled to have three-time Grammy nominee Claire Lynch and two bands familiar to festival patrons — the Slocan Ramblers and The Lonely Heartstring Band.”

They’ve also lined up four regional favourites: The Sweet Lowdown, Clover Point Drifters, Country Squall and Nomad Jones.

More of the best in local and regional bluegrass and old-time music will be announced in the coming months.

The festival will be held in the intimate Flats Stage area familiar to anyone who’s been to Laketown Rock or Laketown Shakedown, or who’s camped at Sunfest.

“It resembles an Old West town setting, which we think is a perfect size and atmosphere for our event,” Shaver said.

The festival’s signature event is an old-time square dance on Saturday night and this will take place June 15 under a big-top circus tent. The big-top tent, coupled with a covered area over Laketown’s Flats Stage, provides 5,800 square feet of rain-or-shine comfort for audiences.

Check out www.CowichanBluegrass.com for updates.

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