The working dock area will host the largest stage (which will be covered from potential rainfall) during the music festival on July 15. File photo

North Pacific Cannery ready to rock out once again

Inaugural Intertidal Music Festival celebrates Canada 150 and 150 years of West Coast canning

PORT EDWARD – It’s got a different name, but the tunes will still be there, as will the expected 1,500-plus people attending the inaugural Intertidal Music Festival at North Pacific Cannery National Historic Site Saturday, July 15.

A decade after the last Rolling on the River music festival took over the cannery village and with revamped and rejuvenated structural and aesthetic changes made to the once-decrepit cannery thanks to the vigor shown by the Port Edward Historical Society board and North Pacific Cannery (NPC) staff, the long-standing cannery can open its doors once again to large numbers of guests at once.

“We weren’t able to host [Rolling on the River] anymore because the site structurally wasn’t able to do it,” said Steve Milum, conservation manager at NPC.

“We’ve been working really hard on conservation work. Now that we’ve got the working dock done and the main building strong, and the other building strong and not leaking..Finally we’re able to have the whole community out.”

The Intertidal Music Festival will celebrate both Canada 150, as well as 150 years of salmon canning on the West Coast of Canada. The society was able to put on some summer events such as Intertidal because of successful applications to Canada 150 grants that help operational and conservation work in the cannery, whose staff are looking to make it a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the next few years.

This past year, NPC hosted a Halloween event which attracted hundreds and it prepared the staff to host the larger music festival this July.

“Any large event really gets us excited to see just how much the community really does love the place – just the way it connects people back to their roots and it’s just a really unique and beautiful venue,” Milum said.

It’s taken years of restoration and grant writing work for organizers to be able to put on the festival and they’re looking to bring it back year after year.

Two large stages will be set up for bands of all different musical genres at the dock’s covered stage and on the second floor of the canning building, which can hold a couple hundred people. Smaller, more intimate stages will also be spread through the site, which will be open for festival-goers to see the exhibits on display (though no guided tours will be available that day).

Headlining bands include Humans and Woodshed Supply Co. from Vancouver and The Racket, from Hazelton. Irish folk, country, blues, rock and everything else will be available to be enjoyed on July 15. The event runs from noon until 9 p.m.

Free morning yoga sessions are included in the ticket price, as are the bus rides which run all day from the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre in Prince Rupert and Aero Trading in Port Edward, as well as the chance to experience a new Canada 150 ale from Wheelhouse Brewery. The road leading to the cannery will be closed at the Port Edward border, with buses in and out.

“It’ll just be a really festive occasion that will draw people out whether they’re interested in history or not, and the site itself is usually pretty engaging once they’re there … We thought it was time to rename it. The ‘Intertidal’ [word] kind of reflects the good mix of community and music bands. It’s a good mix [of music types], which I think represents the region fairly well,” Milum said.

Special early bird ticket pricing is available until June 15 for adults, youth and families, with regular pricing taking effect on June 16 until the day of. Seniors admission is by donation.

All proceeds will go toward hosting the event and restoration and interpretive projects at the site.

Tickets are available online only at www.eventbrite.ca/e/intertidal-music-festival-tickets-34333575649#tickets, or visit North Pacific Cannery’s page on Facebook for a link.

To board the bus, attendees must present their ticket stub or receipt.

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