Hootstock Festival celebrates B.C. indie music

Music event focuses on the music, not making a profit

Lola Whyte

The grounds at the Bradley Creek Stump Ranchers Hall in Forest Grove were alive with music during the Fifth Annual Hootstock Festival on July 22-24.

The music festival had its largest turnout yet in both attendance and performers, with more than 40 musicians performing late into the night.

The biggest difference about Hootstock from other music festivals, such as Pemberton or Sasquatch in Quincy, Washington, is event organizers Steve Roy and Astrid Hensey operate with money being the last thing on their minds.

As Chris Hensey, otherwise known as “The Hobo,” explains, “Roy and Astrid run a non-sponsored event.”

They put [the festival] on out of their own pockets. They simply want to support as many local and international artists as they can.

“They want to help these artists who are risking a lot financially going on tour and trying to make a living.”

After the blessing from The Hobo on July 22, the music began.

The event featured several rising Canadian bands, including The OM Sound from Montreal, Old Soul Rebel from Vancouver, Tax Free Liquor from Forest Grove and more.

There were also several bands that had travelled quite a distance to play at Hootstock. Bands like Entangados from Argentina and MNGWA, which was a mix of Canadian, Mexican, Russian musicians, helped bring a wide range of global diversity to the event.

Amongst the artists were some experimental musicians, such as Doug Koyama who uses a loop track to lay a series of notes he hums over top of one another to create a mysterious yet intriguing harmony.

However, this event only runs as smoothly as it does thanks to all the volunteers who assist with the event.

We’ve had a lot more support from volunteers this year,” says Astrid.

This [event] is the best one yet.”

A new edition to the festival this year was poetry readings by acclaimed poet Lorne Dufour. He and The Hobo read pieces of their works both on the main stage and inside the hall.

Another standout feature about Hootstock is the level of interaction between the artists and the audience. After finishing a set, many of the bands would mingle with the crowd and get to know those attending the festival.

Britt Meierhofer from the band Chrones out of Prince George remarked on enjoying the late night campfire Jams.

We danced our butts off. This has been a nice and relaxed atmosphere.”

The Hootstock Festival is set to return in July 2017.