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Summer solar music festival returns to Rimbey area

Karen Magee has the solar power and Alberta has the diverse musical talent.
2019badbuddy2
The group Bad Buddy performed at the 2019 Weayaya Solar-Powered Music Festival near Rimbey. (Contributed pjoto).

Karen Magee has the solar power, Alberta has the diverse musical talent.

Combine the two and you get the Weayaya Solar-Powered Music Festival, which will be held for the first time since the pandemic on July 6 and 7 on a farm between Bentley and Rimbey.

Magee said she's very excited to present this year's line-up of 13 musical acts of all genres — including the Charlie Jacobson Band (blues), Dragon Fli Empire (hip-hop), the Front Porch Revue (roots), Randi Boulton, Shalaine Stebner (both country-pop), The Ukeclectics (ukelele band), Vissia (R&B/soul), OStella (Celtic-rock) and more.

"I like to get half the talent from this area and half from elsewhere in the province," explained Magee. She's particularly thrilled to feature Stebner, since the singer, who was born in Bentle and went to school in Rimbey, was a friend of her kids'.

The Weayaya (Sioux for solstice) music festival was started on Magee's 12-acre hobby farm in 2013, shortly after she had 32 solar panels installed on the property.

As a strong proponent of solar power, Magee recalled she was looking for ways to showcase this alternative energy source while also spotlighting some of the wonderful musical talent in this province. "I thought, it would take a lot of power to have an outdoor music festival..."

Noticing that her farm has a natural bowl that could serve as an amphitheatre, as well as plenty of room for camping, she decided to host an annual entertainment event that's totally dependent on the solar energy her panels capture and turn into electricity.

Crowds at Weayaya have not been huge — maximum ticket sales for this year's festival will be 150 a day (including weekend passes) — but they have been loyal. Magee noted many of the 2024 performers will also be returning from previous years, including Jacobson, Boulton and Front Porch Revue.

The Weayaya Solar-Powered Music Festival ran annually from 2013-2019. This is the first year it will be back after COVID "and we're ready to go," said Magee.

A big marker for 2024 is that Magee's decade-old $25,000 investment in solar panels is now completely paid off. Magee believes the same number of panels would now cost half that amount, and firmly believes it's a great investment. She likes not having to pay monthly electricity charges, noting many Albertans complained about high bills last winter.

The festival organizer is looking at adding speakers on solar power to the stage presentations.

For more information about the Weayaya festival, please visit weayaya.com.

 



Lana Michelin

About the Author: Lana Michelin

Lana Michelin has been a reporter for the Red Deer Advocate since moving to the city in 1991.
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