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Okanagan talent soars at Red Bird Brewing music festival

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Local talent has been in the spotlight this week at Red Bird Brewing's Nest Fest in the heart of Kelowna's North End. Sydney Morton stopped in for day three of the first year of the festival. – Aug 6, 2022

When the owners of Red Bird Brewing Company decided to renovate and expand their facility, live music was top of mind.

The Nest Fest music festival was exactly the kind of event they had in mind for their renewed space.

“People come here and their eyes kind of pop out of their heads and they go wow this is great because they know how it started with just a 30-seat room,” said Adam Semeniuk, Red Bird Brewing. “This was always the plan to get here and it happened within five years, which is really cool.”

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The first ever Nest Fest has paired great beer with great music to celebrate the brewery’s fifth birthday and the fourth year of being a hub for live music. The event is set to be an annual event and brought 22 bands to the stage in front of close to 1,500 people over three days.

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“We have a lot of local musicians performing here regularly. They will gig here three or four times a year and we filter in some out-of-town guests as well,” said Semeniuk. “We have 80 per cent local talent and then we brought in a headliner from Vancouver, some DJs from Vancouver, but for the most part they are local bands that have been playing here for four years.”

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For the Kelowna band, The Nomads, it’s a full-circle moment to perform at the festival.

“We formed a couple of years ago at a Red Bird Event,” said James Gass, The Nomads lead singer and rhythm guitarist. “I was not in a band and was here at Canada Day listening to music and happened to run into a gentleman with long hair that’s now our bass player…We just finished our first EP and single.”

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Kansas Hatherly, who lives in Osoyoos and performs as Kansas-Lee has been playing at the venue for years.

“They hired me a few times to play just when it was in the little building…and then they have expanded to this [larger venue],” said Hatherly. “I haven’t seen this since I was [out of town] and came back a week ago and was like ‘wow’.”
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The unique atmosphere created at the larger venue has fostered a home for the local music community and those who love to listen.

 

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