The 105th annual Aldergrove Fair Days will celebrate “Flower Power” on July 14, 15 and 16, 2017.
It was 50 years ago that the “Summer of Love” made 1967 memorable, with its hippie be-ins, pop music festivals, alternative newspapers and radio stations, and psychedelic music from the likes of The Doors and the Jimi Hendrix Experience.
The Aldergrove Beach Rock Festival brought that free-spirited energy to Aldergrove Lake Park on the long weekend of May in 1969. Aldergrove entrepreneur Brent Joliffe and a couple of DJs from Vancouver radio station LG73 promoted this music festival, which turned out to be a financial disaster as many of the festival-goers had simply snuck into the park over the back fence instead of paying at the front gate.
Some of the intrepid hippies never made it inside the festival area, as one farmer said he found a couple out in his field, lost, and asking where the festival was.
I was at this festival, working as a teenaged vendor at one of the merchant booths, and fondly recall some of the highlights.
Musically it was quite diverse, offering the best of local rock bands like The Seeds of Time (the band’s guitarist Lindsay Mitchell was later to co-found ’70s hit-makers Prism) and The Black Snake Blues Band. There was also the amazing Washington state blues guitarist and mentor to Jimi Hendrix, Guitar Shorty, who did backflips across the festival stage while he played guitar solos. In addition, B.C. folk singer Valdy wrote his big hit, “Play Me a Rock and Roll Song” about his experience of being booed off the Aldergrove festival stage for singing folk songs.
While Lindsay Mitchell, Guitar Shorty and Valdy are all still alive and well, it will be other bands and artists who will be here to recreate the spirit of the ’60s at the Aldergrove Fair Days this July.
The biggest names will be featured on Saturday, July 15, thanks to the financial support of Craig Nicholson of Aldergrove’s Nicholson Group of Companies. Craig and his brothers Brian and Steve made last year’s festival concerts possible by sponsoring the shows by classic rock band Chilliwack, along with the AC/DC and Van Halen tribute acts.
This year the Nicholson Group are sponsoring Saturday’s main stage performances by classic rock band Trooper, along with several acts paying tribute to Peter, Paul and Mary, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Janis Joplin and The Beatles.
It starts at 2 p.m. on Saturday when the True North Troubadours (featuring Aldergrove musicians Wayne and Diane Rempel and Joel Dietrich) present an hour of the greatest folk songs of the decade. They will be followed at 3:30 p.m. by Big Guitar, a tribute to CCR, and special guest Hayley Chase in her tribute to Janis Joplin. From 5:30 p.m. it will be the Daytrippers with their tribute to The Beatles, followed by the popular classic rock songs of Trooper from 8 to 9:30 p.m.
These big-name performances are all free of charge, thanks to the Nicholson Group of Companies in Aldergrove (MHL Transport, Rite Way Freight Services, Rite Way Transport, Road Rider Transport, BBCS Truck and Trailer, Super Steve’s Tire) and their sponsorship of the main stage entertainment.
“I have always been a dreamer,” says Craig Nicholson. “And when we were teenagers I often said that I wanted to throw a concert one day for everyone we grew up with (in Langley) and I wanted Trooper to be the entertainment. So, fast-forward 20-some years and this summer Trooper will play at the Aldergrove Fair! We really hope that you will come, bring your friends and loved ones and celebrate with us!”