It was a party in Forest Grove as roughly 200 spectators decided to enjoy the sound of music at the Hootstock Music Festival at the community hall.
“I would say that it’s been a huge success and everyone has been excited about this new location. It’s been really great having it right in Forest Grove,” said Astrid Hensey of Momentum Productions, the festival’s organizer. “That magic has been there, that’s for sure.”
Around 30 artists from across Canada showed up to play, many of them returning from previous years.
Scott Hamilton is one of those artists. He was part of the festival’s line-up two years ago.
“I still come back through here whenever I’m driving around playing concerts,” he said. “There’s a cool group of people here every year.”
Joining up with his wife, Fanny Badef (performs under the name AUST), Hamilton plays his folk-like music while AUST paints pictures that go along with the song’s content.
Hensey’s personal favourite was Shirley Gnome, a cabaret musician who uses raunchy and hilarious lyrics to capture the audience.
“Her stage presence and her delivery are just fantastic,” Hensey said of the musician. “I mean, I really love everyone here – I hand picked everyone here – but I really enjoyed her set a lot.”
Some other highlights she picked out were The OM Sound, C.R. Avery, Wax Mannequin and Jesaja Class, a magician and illusionist.
Hensey also praised the weather. The festival’s volunteers purchased a bunch of water guns and gave them to children to play.
The Forest Grove Lions Club and the Legion Auxillary Group also hosted pancake breakfasts on Saturday and Sunday morning.
“We are really enjoying involving the community this year by having a stage at the Legion and one of the restaurants and having the community groups coming in and being part of it,” said Hensey.
This was the first time the festival has been held at the Community Hall. Formally, it was held at the Old Bradley Creek Schoolhouse grounds for the first five years. Hensey said everyone has been really excited with the changes and have received feedback, especially with the kitchens and indoor bathrooms being more accessible.
She also mentioned that people should take the time to enjoy art, especially in smaller communities where there isn’t as much music going on compared to bigger population centres.
“It’s good for your soul. We all need more art in our life, whether it’s music or movies,” she said. “It’s really important for people to realize it’s good for them to come and experience live music.”