Kick off summer with some tunes at Filberg

What better way to cap off a warm day than listening to some great music while being in one of the loveliest parks in the Comox Valley?

WIL AND DRUMMER Kevin Haughton of Cumberland perform this Thursday in the second of five shows in the Filberg Summer Concert Series.

WIL AND DRUMMER Kevin Haughton of Cumberland perform this Thursday in the second of five shows in the Filberg Summer Concert Series.

It’s summertime and the living is easy.

What better way to cap off a warm day than listening to some great music while being refreshed by a cool ocean breeze in one of the loveliest parks in the Comox Valley?

The Filberg Summer Concert Series takes place on the grounds of the Filberg Heritage Park in Comox on select Thursdays in July and August. Upcoming concerts feature an eclectic blend of folk, roots, pop and jazz.

“It’s a great opportunity to listen to some good tunes in a beautiful location,” says Mo MacKendrick, chair of the Filberg Heritage Lodge and Park Association board. “It’s never too hot in the park and we’ve set up a tent and risers on top of the hill next to the herb garden.”

MacKendrick suggests people make an evening of it by bringing a picnic supper or making reservations for an early dinner at the Filberg Tea House.

The acoustic roots trio Sweet Low Down from Victoria kicked off the series on July 12 with a unique sound based on old-time folk, bluegrass and roots music.

On July 19, Wil, known for his intense live performances, will bring his roots-rock sound to the stage. Wil began 2012 touring Eastern Canada as the opening act for Jann Arden.

He was also commissioned to compose Ride for the Calgary Stampede’s 100th anniversary and recently performed at the stampede every evening before the fireworks display. A review by the Calgary Sun said Wil’s performance has “so much power and soul it could stop your heart.”

You can check out this lively musician’s sound at www.ibreakstrings.com.

Coming on July 26 is Oliver Swain’s Big Machine. Swain, who’s been called Canada’s quintessential folk and traditional musician, is known for the incredible range of his finely tuned vocals and his flair on the banjo and upright bass. Preview his sound at www.oliverswainmusic.com.

Two concerts are scheduled for August. The first, on Aug. 16, features Mae Moore, an award-winning recording artist, popular performer and environmentalist.

Moore’s sound is rich, deep and lovely to listen to. When not working on her music, she’s tends and preserves the bounty of a prodigious organic garden, so I’m sure she’ll love singing by the herb beds. Find out more at www.maemoore.com.

Closing the concert series on Aug. 23 is Impossible Bird. This dynamic duo, which promises to “shake your bones,” is made up of songwriter and guitarist Nick Drummond and fiddler/violinist Tyler Carson.

In a Victory Music review, Hillary Field calls their sound “instantly engaging” and says the “well-crafted songs defy anyone to sit still.” Get a preview at www.impossiblebird.com.

But the Filberg Summer Concert Series is about much more than great music and having a good time. It is also a fundraiser to maintain, renovate and preserve the heritage lodge.

At 4,000 square feet, the lodge is a showcase of innovative design featuring the work of local craftsmen using local materials. But it was constructed in the 1930s and was originally intended to be a summer cottage, not a full-time residence for the Filberg family.

“We have an aggressive five-year renovation plan that will cost more than $100,000 per year,” says MacKendrick. “The lodge needs a new roof and gutters, masonry repairs, a new furnace and the electrical and plumbing systems need to be upgraded. The window structures also need work.”

In 1979, with the assistance of the Vancouver Foundation, the Town of Comox took over the property. The Vancouver Foundation also provided funds to restore the buildings and grounds for a 20-year period.

Now the Town of Comox looks after the grounds and the Filberg Heritage Lodge and Park Association is responsible for maintaining the lodge.

Primary fundraisers are the annual Filberg Festival, memberships, rentals of the facility, the gift shop and grants. But since the downturn in the economy in 2008, grant funding has been drastically reduced for all applicants.

Aside from specific events, the lodge and park are available for everyone to enjoy free of charge year-round. So the board of directors decided to change the free Sunday afternoon concerts and to bring in paid performers for Thursday evenings.

“I really hope all the music lovers in the Comox Valley will come out for a fun evening and support the lodge,” says MacKendrick.

Tickets at $15 per concert may be purchased in advance at Bop City Records, Laughing Oyster Books and Long and McQuade in Courtenay and at Blue Heron Books, Comox Videos and More and the Filberg Lodge gift shop in Comox. Tickets are also available at the gate prior to the concerts.

For more information, visit http://filberg.com/filberg-summer-concert-series-something-new-in-filberg-park.