The Pass Creek Gospel Music Festival has been going on for several years. Photo: Submitted

Gospel Music Festival coming to Castlegar

Event expanded to two days will take place July 20-21.

The sixth Pass Creek Gospel Music Festival is expanding to two days this year.

The event will be held at the Pass Creek Exhibition Grounds and kick off Friday, July 20 at 7 p.m. On Saturday, July 21 the start time is 6 p.m.

“Since there are so many different styles of gospel music today, it is difficult to try and incorporate them in one evening,” said organizer John Phillips. “People who like traditional gospel music don’t necessarily enjoy gospel rock, and people who enjoy contemporary gospel don’t necessarily enjoy southern gospel.”

There were also more bands and groups wanting to be included and since it was impossible to have more groups on one evening, the decision was made to expand to two days.

Friday will be more of today’s gospel music — contemporary to light gospel rock, geared more towards younger people and people who think young.

For Saturday the music will be more like in years past, a mix of contemporary to traditional.

There will be three bands on Friday and five on Saturday. This year’s headliner is the Stephen Toon Band from Oliver — recording artists with a wide-ranging style that allows them to be comfortable playing both Friday and Saturday.

Stephen Toon and his wife Lisa are both trained classical singers. Lisa plays keyboards and Stephen is a skilled guitarist. They are bringing four other musicians with them.

Also appearing Friday is a Nelson band led by Matt Osepschook and Unction Junction. Unction Junction have been to the Pass Creek event many times and include singers and musicians from Salmo, Nelson and Castlegar.

Saturday the Stephen Toon Band will co-headline with Gilles Parenteau. Parenteau is well known locally, nationally and internationally for his talent as a world class keyboardist/organist and also as a composer and arranger. This year once again Parenteau has changed it up a little bit and is bringing an organ, two vocalists and a bass player.

Also on Saturday appearing for the first time will be the Trail Alliance Band, a group from the Trail Presbyterian Church will return, and back by popular demand will be Dan Perrealt from Balfour who plays a bluegrass style.

Hot and cold beverages and snacks will be available this year and the ice cream truck will be back.

This is a family-friendly event and there is no admission charge but a collection is taken. There are only a limited number of benches for seating, so bring a lawn chair or blanket to sit on.

In case of rain the event will be moved to New Life Church in Castlegar.

For more information call John at 250-365-7456 or email john491@shaw.ca.

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