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Dark Times Brings Brighter Days

February 6, 2018
Dark Times Festival

New Music Festival Introduces Cariboo Talent This March

It’s a familiar feeling that sets in this time of year in the Cariboo: longing for warmer summer days but knowing that winter’s dark, icy grip won’t be letting up any time soon.

Whether it’s seasonal blues, cabin fever or just plain fatigue from shovelling the same patch of driveway on a seemingly endless loop, the creative forces behind some of the Central Cariboo’s most popular music events have a remedy in the works.

Dark Times, a three-day, multi-venue music festival promises to be a “thick blanked of warm harmonies and hip-swaying beats,” according to Arts on the Fly volunteer, Brandon Hoffman.

The inaugural event – set to take place March 2-4 in Williams Lake – follows three seasons of The Safety Meeting concert series, and will feature an eclectic selection of artists ranging from roots and soul to electronic crossover.

“I started brainstorming the idea and inquiring with artists in July, shortly after we cancelled the summer festival,” Hoffman explains of Dark Times’ origins, born out of last summers’ wildfire season that wreaked havoc on plans for festivals and events throughout the region.

“I presented the idea to our directors at our August meeting, and they were 100 per cent on board.”

Following the success of Arts on the Fly’s Safety Meeting series, Hoffman was inspired to expand the idea two a multi-venue event, while still maintaining a small-town, winter festival vibe.

“The Safety Meeting series proved that Cariboo folk have a hungry appetite for live entertainment year-round,” he explains. “We know how it is in the winter in a small town. We need stuff to do to stave off the cabin fever.”

With a huge pool of volunteers and hired crew – Hoffman estimates he has a team of around 50 mostly locals, plus another 50 en route to Williams Lake next month to perform – the festival is shaping up to offer something for all ages and musical tastes.

The Arts Centre, an intimate, 90-person venue, will host the majority of the sit-down, folksier artists, while the Limelight will be the place to take in the acts that are sure to set the dance floor on fire.

The Bean Counter Bistro and Gecko Tree will also be hosting some of the mellower, acoustic acts throughout the three days of entertainment.

Close to two dozen bands and artists, including Lydia Hol, Jasper Sloane Yip, Blocktreat, Firewood Poetry and Uschi Tala are on the bill for the festival, which is being supported by the Downtown Williams Lake BIA, Cariboo GM and the Central Cariboo Arts and Culture Society.

Hoffman has plenty to be excited about with Dark Times fast approaching, and notes the concert scene in the whole Central Interior is bustling, something he admits is a “sweet surprise” since moving back to the region a few years ago.

“From the very first show I booked… attendance has been great,” he says. “I love seeing the mixed crowds at our Safety Meetings over the winter – from teens to young families, to retired  folks, everybody is down. It makes for a great atmosphere.”

Tickets to Dark Times are available now at the Arts on the Fly Facebook page or by visiting

Writer: Melissa Smalley


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