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Two days of music coming our way at Kirb-Fest 2017

Wednesday, 15 November 2017. Posted in Shootin' the Breeze

Two days of music coming our way at Kirb-Fest 2017
A shared musical moment between Kirby Smith and his daughter, Zahara Curly Rider, at Festival ATR in 2016.   Photo by Jaiden Panchyshyn

Two days of music coming our way at Kirb-Fest 2017

By Shannon Robison

Kirby Smith is known locally for hosting Festival ATR (Across the River) as a summer music festival. This year, he says there was too much going on to make it happen, so he is trying something different by inviting musicians and music lovers alike to join the Smith family in making and enjoying live music.

This weekend, he is hosting Kirb-Fest 2017 at the Piikani Nation Multi-Purpose Building. There is no admission charge to attend this celebration of music.

“There are lots of great artists and it will be a good time,” he says.

Kirby chuckles about the name, which was derived from a nickname earned for organizing Festival ATR.

Kirb-Fest is an extension of what he has been doing for years, and he hopes it will make music become more accessible to the community.

Saturday will feature all genres of music — blues, rock ’n’ roll, country, and even rap and heavy metal — while Sunday will feature gospel and country music.

The microphone will be open both days for those who wish to join in.

The festival came together in quick fashion. Kirby reached out to artists he knows and says that in three days the stage spots were filled with half-hour sets.

About 30 artists are taking part, with a feature performance by Yvonne St. Germaine and WhiteElk. The 14-time Aboriginal Gospel Award winner from Saskatoon is sure to put on an inspirational show.

Kirby says the finale will be a tribute to his late grandparents, Paul and Suzy Smith, and to other musicians in his family who have passed on.

While paying tribute to the past, Kirby is also looking to the future with his daughter, Zahara Curly Rider, who has had a busy summer filled with singing performances.

He anticipates a festive atmosphere and is grateful to supporters for making it possible to run the event at no cost to attendees.

Larry Scout is volunteering his sound equipment and Piikani Employment Services has donated use of the facility for the weekend.

Along with the free music, food and drink will be complimentary thanks to the Smith family.

Kirby says his aunties are preparing sandwiches, snacks and drinks for Saturday and a roast beef dinner for Sunday.

Craft vendors will be on-site with Christmas wares and there will be facepainting for the kids.

The music starts at noon Saturday and runs until 11 p.m. Noon is also start-up time on Sunday, with the festival wrapping up at 7 p.m.

Kirby says they will try to accommodate as many musicians as possible, and all signs point to a weekend of good music, good food and much camaraderie.