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Hornby's eclectic August festival keeps on growing

IN CONCERT Hornby Festival featuring Jayme Stone, Los Pinguos, Alex Cuba, Ruth Moody, Emily Carr String Quartet and more When: Today through Aug.

IN CONCERT

Hornby Festival featuring

Jayme Stone, Los Pinguos,

Alex Cuba, Ruth Moody, Emily

Carr String Quartet and more

When: Today through Aug. 11, Hornby Island

Where: Various Hornby Island locations, including Olsen's Farm and the Hornby Island Community Hall

Tickets: $6-$22 (some events are free)

More information: hornbyfestival.bc.ca

The annual Hornby Festival, an eclectic art and music event held over 10 days each August on Hornby Island, almost always has the benefit of friendly weather.

That's a big plus, given the festival's exposure to the outside elements. More than half of the performances on tap this year happen at one of the Hornby Festival's outdoor venues, thus making life somewhat hectic for Deirdre Atkinson, who co-programs the festival with her husband, Marc.

All things considered, she can put up with a little uncertainty, weather-wise. "The festival has been growing pretty much every year for the past seven years," Atkinson said. "It keeps getting bigger. So far, going in, this year has the biggest numbers we've had to date."

A surge in sales could be attributed to the stellar lineup assembled by the Atkinsons. Alex Cuba, the Kerplunks, Ruth Moody, Jayme Stone, Quartango, the Emily Carr String Quartet and more will appear during the event.

It's a starry collection of talent, especially for an island with only 800 yearround residents.

"Every performer we have is a main stage performer," Atkinson said.

"Every night is a big night."

One of the most appealing aspects of the festival is Art in Unique Places, a roving "spot performance" showcase that features every mainstage act - from Alex Cuba performing outside the Co-Op, to Ruth Moody appearing at the Beulah Creek Nursery field - in an acousticfriendly, admission-free environment.

The sets are short and casual; better still, they often involve scenic vistas.

"They are seemingly spontaneous, but they are actually not," Atkinson said. "It is the concept of making the entire island festive."

Tonight's opening reception is followed by five consecutive days of mainstage roots concerts at Olsen's Farm, a stunning waterfront venue capable of hosting an audience of up to 1,000, along with a pair of children's concerts. The island's community hall is home to four classical music events, in addition to a reading by John Vaillant.

There's also a children's fundraising art show featuring work by students at Hornby Island Elementary School.

Though a large portion of the festival's audience is from parts other than Hornby, Atkinson is quick to point out the amount of local assistance the event receives.

"We have 120 volunteers, and a lot of those are islanders. But what allows us to have the great ticket sales, which gives us the revenue to bring in such a stellar lineup, is the visitors."

mdevlin@timescolonist.com

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