This is the fourth in a series of stories about some of the performers appearing at the Princeton Traditional Music Festival. The Festival begins on the evening of Friday, August 19th with the opening ceremony followed by an Irish country dance on Veterans’ Way beside the Legion. The dance will feature a live band with fiddle, guitar and concertina. Everyone is welcome. There will be a caller to teach the dances so no experience is necessary and people don’t even need to bring a partner. On Saturday and Sunday there will be music from 10 am until 6 pm on two stages – one on Veterans Square and one in front of the Museum.
Many people in Princeton will remember Doctors Doug and David Reid who looked after the town’s medical needs for many years. They have recently entered a well-deserved semi-retirement. In years past Doug and David have performed at hospital Christmas shows, charity concerts and Burns Nights in Princeton and the Okanagan. Doug also performed at the last two Festivals. This year Doug and David will be joined by two other performers to form the group called Pasties ‘n’ Porridge. The other two members are Ken Freshwater, another physician, visiting from Scotland and Yvonne Harper, who now lives in Poulsbo, Washington. Ken and Doug used to perform together as students at St. Andrews University in Scotland and Yvonne sang in pubs and clubs in her native Cornwall as a student. Yvonne ads some Cornish cream to Pasties ’n’ Porridge. Together the group performs Scottish and Cornish traditional songs.
Princeton is surrounded by ranches so it is only appropriate that there be cowboy poetry at the Festival. Cowboy poetry has a long and valued tradition. After a day of herding cattle in the heat and the dust, cowboys gathered around the campfire at night. Shifts of one or two of them would do night watch with the herd. It was not uncommon for a night-herding cowboy to play harmonica or to sing to the herd to keep them calm. The music also acted as a sort of “sound wall” that masked the sound of coyotes, wolves or any sudden noises that might spook the cattle. The cowboys around the fire drank coffee, shared stories or recited poetry. The poems were about their work and their lives, making fun of workmates or recounting some harrowing or humorous event.
The cowboy poetry at the Festival will actually be cowgirl poetry by our own Lyn Melnechenko who will be appearing at the Festival for the third year in a row. Many readers will know Lyn from her column in the News-Leader titled “Ranching Ain’t Easy”, in which she recounts wild and wonderful stories about life on a ranch. She has had stories and poems published in such magazines as Reader’s Digest, Western Horseman and America’s Horse and is a three-time winner at the Kamloops Cowboy Poetry Festival. Lyn’s books of poetry and drawings called Cowgirls Cuss Too and Truth, Lies and a Whole Bunch of Bullshit will be on sale at the Festival.
These are just some of the over 100 performers coming to this year’s Princeton Traditional Music Festival and the best thing about it is it’s free!
The reason it’s free is because it’s run entirely by volunteers and the performers are donating their talents. To make the festival a success the organizers will need lots of volunteers. If you’d like to get involved, please contact them. Even if you have only a couple of hours available your help would be most welcome. Give them a call and they’ll welcome you aboard. To find out more visit the Festival’s webblog at princetonfestival.org or give Jon and Rika a call at 295-6010.