Giving back to the community while having fun is how Lori-Lyn Graham describes the EdgeFest 2019 festival. Lori-Lyn and Dave have schedules don’t allow them to attend or support many local events and after hearing about how there used to be a nearby music festival that had recently ended the idea of Edgefest was born. The first Edgefest was a bit of serendipity. It was planned as a 50th birthday party for her partner Dave. After not being able to find a place to have their party they decided to have it on their acreage in the 111 Mile Valley, playfully named “The Edge of Nowhere”. That was 13 years ago and they are still going and growing.
Two years ago, Dave was in a serious vehicle accident two weeks before the event. Then, two days before their dog was accidentally run over by a friend. Bothe Dave and their dog still have some issues from those accidents, but the show has always run with the help of family, friends and volunteers. In fact, Lori-Lyn points out that this is her favourite thing about hosting this event – seeing people, sometimes complete strangers, pitch in and work together. “We take care of each other wile having fun in a safe and peaceful setting, all the while raising money for some unsuspecting non-profit organizations and individuals.”
This enthusiastic and hard-working couple have gradually added amenities such as a stage and eight permanent outhouses. One has been dubbed “The Castle” and has been decorated accordingly. A couple of trailers to accommodate band members; an outdoor “kitchen” area where they have two refrigerators; a coffee machine perking away all weekend; two barbecues and, when permitted, a fire pit. This year they have set up a “kitchen” station, so folks have a way to wash their dishes.
Rustic camping is the theme. While they have a lot of space, they don’t have hook-ups. You can bring your tent, camper or RV and have plenty of space and friendly neighbours.
An adult only weekend, they encourage each person to bring a dish to share for the Saturday night potluck as well as a “breakfast by donation” on Sunday morning. Breakfast includes potluck leftovers and eggs, sausage, and toast provided by local sponsors. Folks who can’t bring a dish to the potluck can contribute some money to the donation jar. That money will go towards the cause. Everyone is also responsible for their own beverages and food supplies during the day.
Attendance varies each year, sometimes they get as many as 100 people. Some people have been attending for 13 years. One year a couple of friends traveling North America, having lost their homes to a volcano eruption in Hawaii, spotted the Edgefest poster and since they were wearing, “Life on the Edge” t-shirts, had to investigate. They ended up staying for a week and did a lot of work on the grounds. They haven’t been able to come return but keep in touch. The nice thing about having a smaller event is that long-time friendships are made, and, by the end of the weekend, attendees have become like family with everyone looking out for each other.
Conscientious of their neighbours, a bible camp, they try to end music by midnight. Picking up trash on the roadway is a priority as they don’t want litter marring the reputation of their friendly get-together.
Each year they have donated proceeds from the event to local charities. The first year, Dave’s birthday party, they raised $50 and donated it to the Lac la Hache (LLH) Arena. Since then they have donated to: 100 Mile House Hospice Society, 100 Mile House SPCA, LLH Volunteer Fire Department’s (VFD) Christmas Hamper Fund (and still do annually), LLH PAC, Forest Grove VFD, and in 2017 helped out a single Mom and her family who suffered as a result of the forest fires.
Striving to use local bands, sponsors and food, they are determined to also support local causes. Even empty cans and bottles are donated to the LLH school/OAPO/rink. Leftover and freezable foods are donated to the LLH school lunch program and they try to get perishables to Loaves and Fishes.
Please don’t bring pets to this event. Because they have two dogs, they can’t allow other pets.
Music for the weekend includes a Friday night jam session, and rock bands “Space Waste” and “I’m Not Steve” playing on Saturday night. Yard games and horseshoes will help entertain attendees during the day. Conversation and friendships are always welcome. If folks aren’t planning on camping can come out for the live music on Saturday night, usually show up after 6. If you plan to partake in potluck, Lori-Lyn suggests you come out a couple hours earlier. Otherwise most people arrive between Friday evening and Saturday afternoon and get their campsite set up (no individual fires, pets or children please). They will have canned rock music playing when there isn’t a band or a jam. Coffee and water are available all weekend. Unless folks are in the band, they are expected to provide meals and beverages for themselves in addition to bringing a dish to share at the potluck. The stage will be set up with band gear on Friday.
Additionally, if looking for something to do during the day, folks are encouraged to attend the South Cariboo Garlic Festival at the Lac la Hache community grounds (3380 Highway 97) which is a short drive down the highway.
This coming weekend, August 24, 25 and 26th you’ll find a bit of camping, camaraderie, music and fun at this home-grown festival.
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