COWBOY UP: Kamloops Cowboy Festival enters 17th year
Mark McMillan wants to make one thing perfectly clear: The Kamloops cowboy festival is not just for cowboys.
It is for regular townspeople, mysterious loners on horseback and everyone else.
“You don’t have to be a cowboy to enjoy the festival,” McMillan, the president of the B.C. Cowboy Heritage Society and the chairman of the festival, told KTW.
“It’s put on by cowboys for the general public.”
The festival, in its 17th year, begins today (March 7) and runs through Sunday, making use of two Aberdeen venues — the Kamloops Convention Centre and the Calvary Community Church.
There will be two stages running simultaneously all weekend, McMillan said, featuring cowboy poetry and cowboy music.
That’s cowboy music, not country music — another thing about which McMillan wants to be perfectly clear.
“Country music is basically love songs,” he said, pointing out a very thin, bandana-wearing line riding off into the sunset with a scowl on its face.
“Cowboy music is about riding horses and moving cattle — the life of a cowboy.”
McMillan said the festival generally sees most attendees come from the other side of the Rockies, where the buffalo roam, but that’s starting to change.
“I’m going to say 70, maybe 75 per cent of the crowd is from Alberta,” he said.
“This year, we’re getting more locals. But, Albertans are still pretty big for us.”
And, McMillan said, some of those Albertans are extremely loyal to the festival.
“We have our people that come back every year,” he said.
“They’re true followers.”
In addition to the performances on stage, the festival also features a 50-booth trade show, a juried art show and artist workshops.
“We describe it as good, clean family entertainment,” he said.
“There’s tons of humour, and just the type of entertainment anybody could enjoy.”
For more information on the festival, including a full schedule of events, log on to bcchs.com/festival/html.