Doug Cox’s latest Vancouver Island MusicFest announcement is a testament to the festival’s reputation.
West Coast rockers 54•40 will close the festival with the Sunday evening slot, immediately following Serena Ryder. Cox said it wasn’t a hard booking to make: They called him.
“The request came from them, that they really, really wanted to play MusicFest this year,” said Cox, MusicFest’s artistic director and executive producer. “Neil (frontman Neil Osborne) has been such a great presence on Vancouver Island as of late, and they passed up on all of their other Island gigs this summer because they really wanted to play MusicFest. So that’s cool.”
Cox thinks the Sunday night lineup is a perfect conclusion to the three-day party at the Comox Valley Exhibition Grounds, with 54•40 as an ideal complement to Serena Ryder.
“I just thought it would be a cool way to end the festival,” he said.
“We usually end with some kind of big dance band and it’s kind of neat to end with an iconic B.C. rock ‘n’ roll band who has never played the festival before.”
Cox met Osborne a couple of years ago, during a collaborative gig celebrating the Royal & McPherson Theatres’ centennial celebrations.
“We did a bunch of concerts called ‘Back to the Garden,’ which was a celebration of Victoria musicians mostly. Daniel Lapp put that all together and he is actually part of 54•40 for their show at MusicFest this year.
“They are putting out an acoustic album right now, but they will be doing their full on electric show at the festival.”
Cox expects Osborne and Lapp to take part in some workshops during the festival. Those schedules have yet to be drawn up.
The Vancouver Island MusicFest runs Friday, July 8 through Sunday, July 10. Weekend passes are available at islandmusicfest.com
Camping passes for the festival went on sale March 1 and are selling quickly. They are also available through the festival website.