The first things that come to mind when you think of a music festival are usually images of never-ending lines, security laden barricades, thousands of dreadlocked hippies and eight dollar bottles of water.
While the dreadlocks were present and the water was overpriced, Fort St. James Music on the Mountain festival catered to a different, more intimate crowed, the typical mammoth sized festivals summer concert goers are used to.
Music on the Mountain has the kind of small town charm that makes communities like Fort St. James stand out.
Starting last friday night at around 5 p.m. at the Murray Ridge ski resort, around 100 people made it out for the opening ceremonies.
Doug Koyama emceed the events as well as kicking off the festival with some psychedelic and philosophical music employing a looping machine to create layers of his own voice and wow audience members.
The night commenced with performances by locals Ingrid and Bill Philips as well as sets by Winnipeg’s Ingrid Gatin, Doug Koyama of Quesnel and the ever ready party girls Twin Peaks of Fort St. John, B.C.
Between the hula-hooping toddlers, swaths of dreadlocked hair and free hugs, it was clear that Music on the Mountain is an event for all demographics.
Things ramped up as the sun went down and Twin peaks took the stage to great applause.
Twin Peaks’ Lindsay Pratt ad Naomi Shore brought their unique blend of tipsy, country inspired folk to the main stage, rambling and joking with crowd between sets.
The night climaxed with Twin Peaks performance of their hilarious and somewhat legendary song “hair panties” which chronicles the struggles of rural hygiene.
The crowd went wild for Twin Peaks, with an obvious connection being made between the fans and Pratt and Shore.
Both nights of the festival saw performances and partying continue until the early hours of the morning and yet, somehow, there was no sense of a hangover on Saturday morning.
Outside of the music, Music on the Mountain had a lot to offer; there were artisanal booths selling homemade clothing, jewellery and paintings.
For the culinary inclined festival-foodies, there was locally raised and organic beef for sale, veggie burgers and a wood-fired, stone oven pizzeria in addition to the standard festival fare of poutine and hotdogs.
Workshops were also available for kids and adults alike, with songwriters Tereza Tomek and Barefoot Caravan leading youth songwriting workshops throughout the festival. Kids who took part got a chance to perform their newly created songs on Sunday.
For those with a stronger stomach, Shana Labatch, a First Nations woman from Fort St. James had a moose hide on display and taught the less squeamish, including Skeena-Bulkley MP Nathan Cullen, how to flesh a hide and dry it for drum and other artisanal craft making.