If you’re hoping to play at this year’s Blueberry Jam Music Gathering and haven’t signed up, you may be out of luck.
This year’s schedule is so full of musicians that organizers have stopped scheduling new acts. Between 80 and 85 performers are involved with the event, around 30 more than last year. The boost in involvement is leaving organizers little choice but to expand this year’s festival beyond last year’s scope.
“The message I’m getting from the committee is that we should call a timeout,” said Blueberry Jam head of production Mark Kolt about welcoming new musicians.
“We’ve already got over 80 acts and it was quite a feat of engineering to get everybody some stage time.”
The number of nights and the number of stages will both increase by one, thanks to the introduction of events at Johnny’s Social Club. That venue will host four nights of shows, starting Thursday, Aug. 8 and continuing until Sunday, Aug. 11.
Entertainment at the main stage area will begin Aug. 9, continuing on all day Saturday and resuming again at 11 a.m. Sunday.
Kolt said adding in the extra night and stage was necessary to keep the same goal for performers from last year’s event; allowing almost all acts to play two sets, including one on the event’s main stage.
“There’s a series of acts, each doing half-hour sets there. That’s a bit of a new thing. We’re hoping that it’ll attract an audience,” Kolt said.
“To some extent, it’s making a virtue out of necessity. We really want to, as much as possible, offer our performers a couple of slots – one on the main stage and one in one of the smaller venues. Running stuff on Thursday night was part of just getting enough slots available to do that.”
The increase in acts will bring in new faces to the Jam, including performers from outside the Flin Flon area. UK-based singer-songwriter Holly Rees has been confirmed to play the festival, along with acts from across the North and throughout Canada. Many of the acts have existing Flin Flon ties.
“It is very exciting and a bit of a responsibility to have such interest from so many performers from so far afield. In the past month or so, we’ve had three or four different acts from the Thompson and Norway House area that have signed on. Assuming that holds, that’ll be a first for us,” Kolt said.