“Noise almighty!” I thought as I knelt neck deep in Okanagan Lake. The Saturday afternoon sun was blazing high overhead, while electro pop duo Humans toggled rhythms atop a stage on the beach. “What a unique festival!”
There I was in the midst of year two for the quasi Hawaiian themed Keloha, a weekend long celebration of music and art held in Kelowna, British Columbia’s downtown Waterfront Park. The shore and water were scattered with dancers, and I was definitely digging the good vibes.
Already that day I had enjoyed upbeat performances by Rococode and The Malibu Knights, and by now I had worked up a nagging hunger, so off I set in search of satiation. Wading past a group of people practicing surfboard yoga, I stepped ashore and found myself surrounded by a cluster of colourful pyramids planted in the sand. All of these had been vibrantly decorated by local visual artists like up and coming painter Nick Gibson. After stopping a short while to admire their visual ingenuity, I recommenced on my mission to eat.
At an adjacent ring of food trucks I amassed an ensemble of mini donuts, Kelly O’Bryan’s pachos, and an energy spiked lemonade. With my feast awkwardly balanced in my arms, I proceeded past a line of vendors in the direction opposite the beach, continuing along a boardwalk and up the shaded side of a knoll. At its peak I chose a spot to settle in the grass with my goodies and await the beautiful sounds to come.
Before and below me was the event’s main stage, a concrete island enclosed by a shallow moat. The structure soon came alive as The Zolas emerged and launched into their set. From then on the hillside’s population expanded with grooving and lounging folks, while the live entertainment progressed with Juno winning Arkells and Australian chart toppers Atlas Genius. The sun eventually set, and the day’s festivities culminated in a mass expression of body bouncing, balloon tossing, booty twerking weirdness with the eternally positive and infectiously energetic Matt and Kim.
This was but a small segment in a three day extravaganza that kicked off the night before with the likes of Mutemath and Yukon Blonde, and wrapped up Sunday evening with performances by Capital Cities and MGMT. Beyond the gates of the park, the show carried on each night at a handful of nearby venues, with several of the concert’s acts and affiliates playing into the AM hours. The fun tried its best to never end, with its only restraint being the inevitable arrival of that dreaded buzz kill Monday.
There was certainly no shortage of talent throughout the weekend. Such diverse musicianship from start to finish, complimented by miscellaneous displays of interest and artistry, made for an exceptional overall experience. Every aspect of the whole thing was well planned, and brilliantly executed. The second annual Keloha proved that last year’s success was in no way a fluke.
Well done, Wet Ape Productions. You nailed it once again!
– Cory Stumpf