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Windy Castle Medieval Faire features Middle Ages fun for all ages

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Take a step back in time with the Windy Castle Medieval Faire, July 29 and 30 at the Coyote Flats Pioneer Village, just outside of Picture Butte.

 The Faire was inspired by Michelle Couper’s visit to the Brook Medieval Faire. She soon recruited  Juanita DeVos to help organize  a medieval Faire near Lethbridge.

The Lethbridge Medieval Club will be fighting and teaching at the Windy Castle medieval Faire, July 29-30. Photo by Richard Amery
“She went there for a day and said she’d love to build a hay bale maze. And as soon as she said she wanted to do a Medieval Faire, I said ‘count me in,’” DeVos said, adding ironically, the hay bale maze will be pretty much the only  attraction not happening at the faire due to  the bales they wanted to borrow for it being in too poor quality to move twice.

“ If you shoot for the moon, you will at least reach the clouds. Some ideas have been derailed. Not all of our ideas have come to fruition,” DeVos said.

So there will be a variety of  attractions for  all ages, including bouncy castles for age 6-11, 12-18 and another for grownups, a medieval feast including jousting from jousting organization Tilt and Lance, medieval sword fighting demonstrations and lessons, games,  an adventure filled carriage ride in the coulee, bards, storytellers, the Lethbridge object manipulators, jugglers,  crafts, plenty of people in medieval costumes, vendors and artisans of all sorts. There will even be a tavern featuring a special brew created by Coulee Brew for the event, plus mead and a singing bartender.

“We might even have archery dependingJuanita Devos is Excited about  the windy Castle Medieval Faire. Photo by Richard Amery on the wind,” she said.
“We even have a psychic. She knows how many people will be there, but she won’t tell us, which is unfair,” DeVos chuckled.

 There will be a treasure hunt as well, where participants, will be given a program and a list of clues for them to follow. In addition there will be a photo contest and photo booth
“Michelle said the number one rule was it has to be fun for everyone including the volunteers. I was reading a book about Walt Disney, who said  your staff is your most important  asset. If they’re happy,  everybody else will be.’ The volunteers only have to work four hours and then they can enjoy the faire,” DeVos said, adding they still need more volunteers.

“We can’t do an event like this without volunteers,” she said.

She noted they have received a lot of support from the community including Kapow Comics, who have been selling tickets and the Lethbridge Medieval Club, who will be a big part of the Faire, holding martial arts and medieval combat demonstrations as well as teaching some of the simpler techniques to those interested.


Wide Skies plus roots and indie rock this week

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After last week’s slower week punctuated by  South Country Fair, July 21-23, things pick up steam in a big way early this week with the Wide Skies Music Festival at Southminster United Church.Jesse and the Dandelions return to Lethbridge this week. Photo by Richard Amery

A variety of bands  (5:15:Shaela Miller; 5:50: 24th Street Wailers; 7:55: Ryland Moranz; 8:50: Deep Dark Woods; 8:15: Mariel Buckley; 9 :15: Alex Cuba) play a free outdoor show on Wednesday.

While the Wednesday event is free, festival  passes cost $60, which include preferred seating for Thursday night, swag as well as a transit pass. Organizer Mike Spencer noted there will be a suggested donation of $10 for Wednesday night to help cover expenses.

 The next night, Thursday, is a paid concert inside Southminster United Church featuring roots and blues duo Dave and Phil Alvin. Lindi Ortega opens the show at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $60.

After that, there is a big indie rock show at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Thursday, July 27 featuring Toronto based singer songwriter Charlotte Cornfield and the Provincial Archive, Edmonton indie rock band Jesse and the Dandelions and local Indie rock band the Utilities.
The Owl Acoustic lounge also brings back Montreal singer songwriter Bobby Dove, Friday, July 28 with special guest Joey Only.


Playing Grand Ole Opry rekindles Lindi Ortega’s love for music

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Country singer/ songwriter Lindi Ortega was feeling a little lost in the music business after releasing five recordings, that is until she moved to Calgary in February after meeting a man and started listening to songwriter Townes Van Zandt, which rekindled her love for music and songwriting, which lead to her new  EP “Til the Going Gets Gone.”
 She will be playing the Wide Skies Music Festival at Southminster United Church, July 27 with at least her guitarist Champagne James Robertson.

Lindi Ortega is part of the Wide Skies Music Festival this week. Photo by Richard Amery
“ It wasn’t really inspired by Townes Van Zandt, but it was inspired by me  thinking of getting out of the music business and getting a job,” she said.

“ I’m in my late 30s and I’ve got a lot of bills to pay, which is difficult to do in the music business,” she said.

“I’ve retooled how I do things. I’ve learned a lot like not to overspend on tours, which has helped,” she continued.


Dave Alvin reflects on blues music, L.A. punks and opening for Queen

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Dave Alvin is excited to return to  Southern Alberta to play the Wide Skies Music Festival in the Southminster Untied Church, Thursday, July 27 with his brother Phil Alvin and the Guilty Ones ( guitarist Chris Miller, drummer Lisa Pankratz and her husband Brad Fordham on bass).Dave and Phil Alvin play Wide Skies music Festival next week. Photo courtesy Yep Roc Records
 Dave and Phil Alvin played one of the first Geomatic Attic shows six or seven years ago.

 Dave and Phil Alvin were part of the burgeoning cowpunk scene in Los Angeles in the last ’70s and early ’80s, where as part of the Blasters, opened for a variety of bands like Queen to some of the early Los Angeles punk bands.
 Dave Alvin eventually embarked on a solo career after the Blasters disbanded and reunited with his brother a few years ago to record two albums “Common Ground Dave Alvin and Phil Alvin Play and Sing the Songs of Big Bill Broonzy”— and their most recent CD, 2015’s  “Lost Time.”

“I’ve been able to play rock and roll full time for my whole life, which is pretty nice,” said Dave Alvin from his home in Downey, California.

Alvin contributed an excellent essay about the Blasters’ eternal outsider status, not only in mainstream rock, but also in the punk scene for X co lead singer John Doe’s book “Under the Big Black Sun.”

“It was John Doe’s idea. He gathered a lot of people from bands and from the scene. So it is our book. He’s a great guy. John Doe is all right in my books,” Alvin said, adding he isn’t planning on writing  a book of his own.

“It seems like everybody is writing a book. We don’t need another one,” he said.

He noted the band has had some interesting experiences included getting booed and pelted with debris by  18,000 angry Queen fans while opening for the band in the ’70s. While you wouldn‘t expect Queen fans to get violent, Alvin wasn’t surprised.


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

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