Kulth (pronounced coolth) Music Fest is described as folk fest with an edge. That edge being that music fans with families won’t have to compromise at this three-day event packed with music and entertainment.
“We had been doing festivals for 11 years. When we moved on to this fest, I had an 8-year-old son, my partner has kids, too, and we wanted something that was more of a family focus,” says festival organizer David Fisher.
Held on July 16 and 17 at the Coombs Rodeo Grounds on the Alberni Highway, about 30 minutes north of Nanaimo, Kulth Fest has a lineup as varied as the best hotel brunch: from roots to reggae, folk, blues, surf rock, and even family-friendly electronic remixes of Disney tunes in the Kid Zone complete with face painting, a ventriloquist and clowns.
Headliners include Juno Award-winning singer-songwriter Ron Sexsmith, who was just shortlisted for the prestigious Polaris Music Prize, playing Sunday evening, while Juno-nominated Canadian indie rock band Stars will close out Saturday night.
Other highlights include TLGLTP (Top Less Gay Love Tekno Party or Topless), Neighbour (with Red Light Quadrant), Memphis, Louise Burns, Victoria natives Aidan Knight, Current Swell, Quoia, T.Nile and a showcase of new musical talent.
Aidan Knight was born and raise in Victoria and got his start playing trumpet in the Esquimalt High jazz band. It wasn’t long before he started playing guitar, inspired by his friend Ben Worcester (who would later go on to start Said the Whale) at summer camp. He soon found himself, “writing songs with big, long words to impress girls.”
Years later, the 24-year-old singer-songwriter has his full-length debut album, Versicolour, and his Friendly Fires EP behind him. He’s also looking to record new material later this year.
“This is the first time I’ve felt the need to produce something new . . . new things to talk about and new music to listen to,” he says.
Knight’s soothing vocals and sweet summertime music is sure to be a set not to be missed.
Although Knight and his band The Friendly Friends have never played in Coombs before, he’s really looking forward to it. “I love being involved in the struggle of doing something for the first time, plus I have a lot of affinity for that area,” he says. “I knew I wanted to support it even before David told us Stars and Ron Sexsmith are both playing. Those are two people that I’ve definitely listened to obsessively at different eras in my life.”
Kulth Fest is also on the edge environmentally. All garbage will be collected and weighed in accordance with Nanaimo’s Zero Waste Program. There will be free filtered water refilling stations. Shuttle services will be offered from the ferries and a bus is running from Tofino. Visit thekulth.ca for directions, lineup, schedules, tickets and lodging. M