GRIZFEST 2009 ROCKS TUMBLER RIDGE

To ensure a successful Grizfest Musical Festival, months of planning and preparation are required. It all begins with the Grizfest Committee, which starts meeting in October to organize the following year?s event.

Dedicated volunteers Brian Bray, Sharon Bray, Deanna Walsh, Nancy Fallon, Darryl Krakowka, Lindsay Vandale, Doreen Young and Jason Collison lead by Cheryl Hayden and Joy McKay make up the Grizfest Committee. All of Tumbler Ridge is involved in the preparation of Grizfest in one way or another, whether by means of businesses sponsoring events, the District of Tumbler Ridge lending equipment and manpower, to our local residents who volunteer every year.

Grizfest Music Festival 2009 held August 1 and 2nd, was indeed successful. The caliber of the musical line up was incredible for a small community. Over 3000 people attended the two day festival. Some of the attendees were from as far as South Africa, Australia, Edmonton, Hinton, Fort St. James, and Fort McMurray, with the majority being from the surrounding Peace region. The event kept the hotels busy along with the Campsite, RV Park and Overflow camping.

This year?s stellar line up included Default, State of Shock, Glass Tiger, Honeymoon Suite, Prism, Gordan Bamford, Aaron Pritchett, Heidi Raye and Kym Simon. Band members from Honeymoon Suite told organizers ?You may think you are a small event, but you do it like professionals, everything was great?. Cheryl Hayden estimated that 90 volunteers helped on the grounds this year. Everything ran smoothly and went according to plans said Joy McKay.

The Battle of the Bands kicked off the festivities Friday night, thanks to the sponsorship of LaPrairie Crane and the direction of Brian Bray. ?Danger Cats? from Prince George won first place of $1000 and six hours of studio recording time. ?Anything at War? came in second place and ?Spectrum? in third. Justin Gies from Taylor won first place for vocalist along with $500. Jenessa Roberts from Fort St John took 2nd and Jessica Trudeau from Tumbler Ridge finished in 3rd place.

Thunder and lightning prevailed Saturday morning while the Grizfest Parade, sponsored by the Tumbler Ridge Chamber of Commerce, marched on while the vendors set up on the grounds. This year?s Grizfest had 12 vendors on the ground. CLAC had an information booth with Colin McComb from FSJ, TRSS Grad 2010 offered a children?s fishing game with prizes, cotton candy and an assortment of refreshments. Elegant Trends, Brenda Bircher from Prince George has been a regular vendor for the last 4 years selling incredible jewelry. Taylor?s Silverwolf Artworks and Burnaby?s Canadian Sky Trading added more jewelry and an assortment on clothing. Henna Body Designs from FSJ?s Nicola Hedges hand painted delicate tattoos. Little Dudes Amusements from Chetwynd provided the opportunity for the children to take a train ride around the grounds. Kaspar Mobile Pizza from Hudson Hope, Kettle Popcorn from Dawson Creek, our own TR Arts Council, and Shop Easy helped feed the masses with their delicious food and treats.

Renowned artist Shannon Fennel from Grande Prairie transformed children into butterflies and lions with her incredible face painting. Dan the Balloon Man traveled from Edmonton to create animals and characters of all types out of balloons for the children. Along with Dan?s stage performance, he also held a family workshop demonstrating his knowledge of balloon transformation.

Saturday afternoon the clouds rolled away only to bring the warm welcoming rays of the sun. Country music artists Heidi Raye and Kym Simon got the crowds going, with couples two stepping in front of the stage. At the Skate board Park, 50 participants performed a series of tricks showcasing their skills for prizes at the Annual Skate and Bike Jam. Glass Tiger, who has sold over 6 million records, wowed the crowds and brought back many memories from the 80?s and the 90?s. The Country headliners Aaron Pritchett and Gord Bamford entertained the masses with many in the crowd singing along to their hit songs.

Sunday, Battle of the Bands winners Danger Cats warmed up the stage and crowd for Prism. The flamboyant lead singer of Prism, Al Harlow got the crowd on their feet, as he belted out the tunes of yesterday. Prism also treated the audience to a preview of a brand new song from their soon to be release album. Honeymoon Suite performed all their classic hits from the 80?s much to the delight of the audience.

The rain started again, but the crowds stayed to listen to the headliners. State of Shock rocked the stage, the Vancouver based band with an international hit and platinum record sales of Life Love & Lies. State of Shock was incredible, people of all ages were up along the stage, singing and cheering. Default another Vancouver based band, and Juno winner for Best New Band and Rock Album of the Year got the crowd excited by performing many of their hit songs Everyone was soaked from the rain, but State of Shock and Default kept everyone warm with the vibrations of the their music and their enthusiasm while playing their music.

Sergeant Kurt Render of the Tumbler Ridge R.C.M.P. was pleased to report there were no major incidences during the Grizfest weekend. Considering the fact that there were over 3000 people attending Grizfest, that is testament to the excellent organization on behalf of the Grizfest Committee, Volunteers and the R.C.M.P.