With the cold temperatures and large helping of snow we’ve recently received in Kelowna, it’s clear that winter has well and truly arrived. While it may be tempting to stay home and admire winter from the window, with some great events coming up, there’s plenty of reason to dig out the snow shovel and venture outside. Here are two noteworthy art and culture events for your winter calendar.
Living Things, Kelowna’s International Arts Festival
Where: Three locations in Kelowna’s Cultural District – Mary Irwin Theatre at Rotary Centre for the Arts (421 Cawston Ave.), Black Box Theatre and the Kelowna Community Theatre Main Stage (1375 Water St.)
When: Saturday, January 20 to Sunday, January 28, 2024. Starts at 7:15 p.m. on January 20.
Admission: Admission price varies from free to $55.
Over eight years, the Living Things Festival has grown a cult following in Kelowna’s art and culture scene. Renowned for bringing boundary-pushing contemporary theatre, dance, music, animation, art, and more to the darkest days of winter, Living Things is back for its eighth year this month!
I’ve attended several editions of the festival over the years, and my company is a sponsor of this year’s Living Things. It’s fair to say I’m a big fan of this zany festival! Living Things 2024 will see local artists collaborate with talented performers all the way from Montréal, Vancouver, Madagascar, Romania, and Germany.
The festival, dubbed Kelowna's international arts festival, is organized by Neil Cadger—a recently retired professor at UBC Okanagan’s Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies—and Artistic Director of Inner Fish Performance Company. Neil is excited to bring the 2024 festival to Kelowna audiences:
“Every year, I have the pleasure of introducing local art lovers to exceptional performances that I’ve found at prestigious international festivals. Powerful, celebrated live art — like nothing else you will see in Kelowna. Sometimes funny, always thought-provoking, beautiful and occasionally strange, the performances are unforgettable. Join us for Living Things 2024 and share in the public pleasure!”
Living Things 2024 will feature:
- Ramanenjana – A performance blending dance with documentary, based on a historical ‘dance epidemic’ in Madagascar, featuring artists from Romania and Madagascar
- Dog Rising – A dance performance from Montréal that mirrors the life cycle and the dynamic flow of matter
- Marina Hasselberg – A solo cello concert from Portuguese artist Hasselberg - who served as the principal cellist of the Vancouver Island Symphony
- Canary – Created by Kelowna-based performer and professor Denise Kenney, Canary combines the poetic and imaginative possibilities of physical theatre, object theatre, and audience participation with a “Ted Talk” aesthetic
- Objects in Motion – A Living Things Festival favourite, Objects in Motion is an evening of international, animated short films curated by local artist, professor and animator Myron Campbell
- Plastique – Created out of plastic bags and almost nonverbal, Plastic/Plastique by Montréal’s Puzzle Theatre is an all-ages show that finds humour and delight in a frighteningly common material
- Playbook – Playbook is an interactive, immersive 5.1 sound, music, and text experience created by local artists
- The Noisebau – By Natali Leduc and David Gifford (Victoria), The Noisebau is an interactive and immersive architectural sound exhibition that encourages the audience to activate noise generators integrated into the built architecture – this exhibit will show at the Alternator Centre for Contemporary Art
- 8th Continent – An immersive installation by Bengi Agcal that transforms the digital realm into a space for community dialogue, encouraging participatory expression to raise awareness about the pervasive presence of plastics
In addition to the shows noted above, Living Things 2024 will also include a public lecture and a dance party (or two). Learn more and get tickets over on the Living Things website. You don’t want to miss this fantastic annual festival!
When: Friday, February 2 to Sunday, February 4, 2024. Starts at 5 p.m. on February 2.
Admission: $25 to $210
Fireside Festival is literally a homegrown event! The popular music and arts festival began as a humble event in a local band’s living room (shoutout to Wild Son) and has now grown to span an entire weekend across two breweries – Red Bird Brewing and BNA Brewing Co.
Now a key event on Kelowna’s cultural calendar, the annual festival celebrates emerging Canadian artists, showcasing a wide range of art and music from EDM to country to dance, spoken word and more.
I was lucky enough to be there for the first-ever Fireside Festival in early 2014, and while the original event was much smaller in scale, it was a warm, welcoming environment that encouraged connection and the enjoyment of music. Fireside has stayed true to these principles over the years, fostering an environment of diversity and inclusion led by Founder + Creative Director (and former Wild Son bassist) Aaron DeSilva.
It all starts with a kick-off party at Red Bird on Feb 2. The Friday night lineup features Moontricks, Dawson Gray, Kris Falco, Tasha Kett, Mr. M, and Kailee Mcguire.
On Feb 3, get ready for a full-on day of hip-hop, EDM, R&B and indie at Red Bird, featuring Snotty Nose Rez Kids, Rumpus, NADUH, Post Modern Connection, Bdice, DJ Invizible, Broken Future, Edge, Femme Fatale, Cameron Ambrosio, Stereo Sundays, DJ Anomaly, Ur Girl Meems, Elk the Moose, Ramen Fog and more.
It wraps up on Feb 4 at BNA with house party energy and a nod to Fireside’s beginnings – the last day of the 2024 festival includes Ricky Diamonds, Vox Rea w/ The Bankes Brothers, Kentucky Eileen, Windmills, Beau Nectar, Common Fires, 538 st, JP Maurice, Sally Wallick, and Mr.M.
When you attend this festival, you’ll understand why it has become so popular over the years! Learn more and get your tickets by visiting firesidefestival.ca.
To see even more Kelowna events, visit the Tourism Kelowna events calendar here. See you out and about!