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South Country Fair ends with hot Sunday line up

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You can accomplish a lot in a day if you out your mind to it. I could only make it to  Saturday of the South Country Fair, in Fort Macleod, July 21 and made the most of it catching most of the  acts, until lShaela Miller and Paul Holden at South Counrty Fair. Photo by Richard Ameryosing power physically and camera battery wise around 11:30 when Hank and Lily were supposed to take the stage.  If you want a taste of the fair,  a lot of my favourites are performing today. As well as a few of the favourites from Friday night.

 Saturday featured a lot of familiar faces, including local performers and people who have played Lethbridge a lot in the past year. But there were some pleasant surprises. And even though there were more little kids running around than ever before, that didn’t stop the performers from unleashing hilarious, bawdy drinking songs and stories on a laid back crowd.

  Shaela Miller, who was on the South stRev. Sekou asks for crowd participation at  South Counrty Fair. Photo by Richard Ameryage on Friday, played a  workshop called the pros and Cons of Collaboration with Carolyn Mark and Ndidi Onukwulu. There wasn’t a lot of collaboration in the workshop other than on  “This Little Light of Mine,” which Shaela Miller lead the other performers through. But most of them played their own songs with their own band mates other than Onukwulu’s lead guitarist who added tasteful guitar solos for much of the workshop.

 Carolyn Mark sang a few of my favourites including “Everybody’s a Whore,” and “Get it Up, Get It In,” as her upright bassist Terri Upton laid down a toe tapping groove. Shaela Miller sang a couple of my older favourites including “Country Love Song” But Mididi Onukwulu was a powerhouse and a highlight, belting out powerful blues and soul with just a touch of gospel. I’d never heard of her, but she has released six CDs and often collaborates with Madagascar Slim. She performs  today at 4:45 p.m.

The other highlight, one of many, was Rev. Sekou. He and his hot band, Sweden’s Dimpker Brothers ripped on an afternoon set of blues, soul and gospel music with just a touch of  reggae. Though this isn’t your grandma’s gospel.

Circus Acts Insomniacs light up  at  South Country Fair. Photo by Richard AmeryWell maybe it is, if you were to go to a Southern Baptist Church in the deep southern U.S. The tiny reverend, dressed all in white with long dreadlocks flying everywhere, belted out his music , fairly dripping with so much soul that it would touch even the Devil’s heart, which was reminiscent of Gary Clark Jr. and  Robert Cray.  In between impassioned please for peace and brotherhood. He told stories about being in Charlottesville during  the neo Nazi march in 2017 and sang  a song inspired by that experience. He ended with a beautiful version of “Stormy Monday Blues.” Do not miss him today at the Sunday Gospel Workshop at 3:15 with Boosh and the Dip who performed on Carolyn mark enjoys the sun at  South Country Fair. Photo by Richard AmeryFriday and the Wooden Horsemen, whose, high energy set of saxophone powered rock and roll I heard from the campground.

There was a lot of great music. As most of the camp was still recovering from the Friday night party, Saturday started slowly as a few people wandered up and relaxed in front of the stages. So most of the  acts started with their more laid back material, including Calgary’s Amy Nelson on  the east stage, who played a set of twangy, bluesy tinged country and blues music. She switched  between a couple of acoustic guitars and a resonator. Her lead guitarist played deadly slide guitar.


Fort Whoop Up features black powder and cannon demonstrations on Sunday

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If you want to get a feel for the wild west that  Lethbridge once was, Fort Whoop Up has plenty of excitement this Sunday.

Fort Whoop Up interpreter Keiran Swayn and Graham Ruttan give a rope making demonstration at Fort Whoop Up. Photo by Richard Amery
Lethbridge has a fascinating history of buffalo robe trading/ whiskey trading and the formation of the Northwest Mounted Police in order to stop it. The Fort features a variety of interactive displays in which you can get a feel for how people lived in the 1860s and 70s.

In addition to the special events on Thursdays, Fort Whoop Up is open seven days a week until Sept. 2 with a variety of activities happening including rope making, wagon rides, Buffalo chip tossing, a mini horse petting zoo, candle dipping, live blacksmithing demonstrations and bannock making over the fire.

As s special bonus, this weekend, Sunday, July 22, Fort Whoop Up brings back the Fort Whoop Up  Black Powder Club and South Alberta Horse Artillery who bring a replica cannon similar to the cannon at the actual Fort Whoop up in the 1800s, for a demonstration of 1860s era weapons.


Shelter Me: Party in the Park marks relatively slow mid July week in Lethbridge

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Most of the town shuts down this week due to the South Country Fair in Fort Macleod. At least the music going portion of Lethbridge, most of whom go to Fort Macleod to take in three days of great music and good vibes. So the two main music venues, the Slice and The Owl Acoustic Lounge close as their staff, owners and most of their regulars all make an extended weekend out of South Country Fair.Fox Mandy performs for shelter me: Party in the park on Saturday, July 21. Photo by Richard Amery
 Even Honker’s Pub is shutting down their weekly  Friday night and Saturday afternoon for the weekend as most of their hosts will be at the Fair. Open mics resume at Honker’s next week, though they are also taking the August long weekend off.

The Fair features an outstanding line-up as usual including local musicians  John Wort Hannam and Shaela Miller, plus Richard Inman, Wine Soaked Preachers Geoff Berner, Kris Demeanor and Carolyn Mark, Hank and Lily, The Vaudevillian, Amy Nelson, the Red Hot Hayseeds and Spanish/ based Canadian/Cuban and France flamenco group Fin de Fiesta Flamenco, who also play Casa on July 25.
If you aren’t going to South Country Fair, Galt Gardens hosts Shelter Me: Party in the Park, July 21. There will be concessions, a dunk tank, an open air market, bouncy castles and kids activities. There will also be live entertainment beginning at 10:30 with Zumba Lethbridge,Thomas Chiefmoon, singer/belly dancer/ Maddie Young, local rappers the Battlepark Super Crew (lRev, ONTK, $am Hill, Shed Beat boys and JPB) and 21st ave follow. Fox Mandy winds up the entertainment at 2 p.m.

On the weekend, Suzanne Scott will be playing country music at Casino Lethbridge.
Guitarist James Oldenburg and Andrea Walker perform a special afternoon show at Plum on Saturday, July 21 from noon-2 p.m.
 Another option is the annual Coutts Centre Arts Festival happening Sunday, July 22.


Fin de Fiesta Flamenco bring Spanish culture to Casa

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Flamenco has always in the blood for dancer Lia Grainger, who grew up in Vancouver and worked as a journalist in Toronto before moving to Spain and forming Fin de Fiesta Flamenco to make Flamenco music her life.Fin de Fiesta perfom at South Country Fair and at Casa next week. Photo submitted

 The group, which includes members from all over the world including Spain, France and Cuba plus two other transplanted Canadians, return to Canada with their new show Salvaje for several performances including the South Country Fair in Fort Macleod, July 22 and at Casa on July 25.

“I started taking classes in my 20s and then moved to Madrid to learn more. But decided to get a ‘real job’ and work in journalism in Toronto. But I kept going back to Spain. I decided to put together a group in 2012. I really enjoy it. It feels good to do it,” said artistic director/ dancer Lia Grainger, who formed the group in 2012 with Seville born guitarist Dennis Duffin and singer Alejandro Mendia, who is from Bordeaux, France.

 Recently they added Havana raised/Montreal based percussionist Hanser Santos Gomez,  Vancouver born, Seville, Spain based flautist Lara Wong and for this tour, India born, Vancouver based guest dancer Deborah “La Carmelita”


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L.A. Beat is Lethbridge, Alberta's only online arts and entertainment magazine.

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