Friendship Festival unites musicians and town

Click on the slideshow above to view captions.Photos by Don Jaque, Paul Bannister and Kyle Gennings.

Music was in the air this past weekend during Fort Smith’s South Slave Friendship Festival as young and old alike gathered in the various venues around town over four days to take in the sounds from an amazing mix of talent.

From smooth blues rhythms to heavy metal riffs the Friendship Fest offered something for most musical palates, once again showcasing a wealth of music. For event organizer Jessica Hval, the event was a resounding success.

“The whole thing went really well, everyone had fun,” she said. “Lots of the musicians said that this was one of the best they had participated in.”

Roaring Rapids Hall was the centre of attention on Thursday night as it heralded the opening of the festival with music and dancing.

The sun shone Friday and Saturday as fans and families gathered outdoors  in Conibear Park to lounge in the sun and take it all in. That included a unique performance by belly dancers who showcased their talents for a receptive audience.

Patrons who made their way to Joan’s Health and Fitness Club on Friday and Saturday enjoyed a mini-festival, with extras on the side. Home grown vegetables, Jamaican cooking and a flea market were available in addition to musical performances as a first time side venue.

It was Saturday night’s Super Shaker at the Arena that showed off the Alice in Wonderland theme, and imaginative decorations transformed the arena. That included costumes, great music and dynamic performances. Sunday was the wrap-up day in Conibear Park, including a farewell performance from festival regulars Momentary Evolution.

“James Boraski and his wife will be leaving the area, moving south,” said Hval. “So this was their last festival, and they will be missed.”

As the festival moves forward in preparation for next year, Hval and her fellow organizers are looking towards the future.

“We’re looking to become a standing board,” said Hval. “So if anyone is interested in becoming part of the board, let me know.”

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