The seventh annual nine-day Ryga Arts Festival begins this weekend with a return to a full lineup of in-person arts events throughout Summerland.
Ryga Arts Festival celebrates the legacy of George Ryga, an author and playwright who lived and worked in Summerland. Ryga’s work encompassed a wide range of genres, including radio and TV scripts, novels, and poetry, and the festival is designed to incorporate that kind of range in its offerings.
Featuring many pay-what-you-choose events, this year’s festival features a diverse blend of music, theatre, spoken word and dance events scheduled to be held at various venues throughout Summerland from Aug. 13 – 21.
“This year we’re exploring themes of ‘weathering the storm’ and how the arts can help us continue in challenging times. The majority of our activities have flexible pricing, to ensure people can attend several events, and have a great time experiencing our wide range of arts programming,” says artistic director Heather Davies.
“We’ve got all different levels of pricing from pay-what-you-choose, which of course, can mean anything, and our top ticket price is $30, so it’s all very reasonable,” Davies told the View. “We really want to make sure that people have access to enjoying the arts locally. The pay-what-you-choose we’re particularly proud of because it makes a difference to a lot of people.”
The festival features a lengthy spoken word line up, including Outspoken!, an open mic spoken word, prose, and poetry night at Summergate Winery.
This Sunday afternoon will feature selected readings from George Ryga’s final novel, “In the Shadow of the Vulture,” in which a sinister shadow of a vulture falls over every character in the story, including a human trafficker, a defrocked priest, and a neo-nazi chicken farmer, each in a struggle for survival. The reading takes place at the Summerland Arts Centre.
The music lineup kicks off on Aug. 13 in Memorial Park with Made in Canada: an agricultural song cycle features 10 songs that centre the voices and realities of the seasonal temporary foreign Workers (TFWs) by blending mariachi influences with lyrics sourced from the stories of the seasonal TFWs, news articles, and legal text surrounding the TFW program.
On Aug. 19 multi-awarding winning PEI folk singer-songwriter Catherine MacLellan will play Centre Stage followed on Aug. 20 by what is likely to be one of the highlights of the festival, Juno and multi-award-winning Edmonton-based folk singer-songwriter Celeigh Cardinal’s live performance, which is also set to take place at Centre Stage on Main St.
Cardinal’s soulful voice and heartbreaking lyrics are sure to captivate listeners. This year she’ll be bringing her whole band so this is one show you won’t want to miss.
Cardinal is back by popular demand after her sold-out show last year.
For 2022 Ryga Arts Festival event information and tickets, visit rygafest.ca.
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