Yeeha! Barkerville’s 2nd annual Cowboy and Drover Jubilee kicks up its heels (for the fourth time)
From the earliest 19th-century goldfield cattle-drives to the square dance fervor of the 1940s and ‘50s, Barkerville has been proud to play venue to more than 100 years of cowboy culture. This September 7th to 9th, the historic town will honour that century of cowboy music, spoken word, and dance at the 2nd annual Cowboy and Drover Jubilee.
“Actually, to say this is only the second Cowboy and Drover festival that Barkerville has hosted over the past decade may be a bit misleading,” said Fairlith Harvey, Barkerville’s Special Events Coordinator. “Newman and Wright Theatre Company, who produce Barkerville’s acclaimed Theatre Royal, started the whole thing off very successfully with the End of the Trail Cowboy Festival in 2005 and 2006.
“After a few of years’ hiatus, Barkerville and the Theatre Royal partnered last year with our newly dubbed Cowboy and Drover Jubilee, and we’re excited to announce that this coming weekend, September 7th to 9th, is the 2nd annual celebration of the festival’s new moniker. Last year’s Jubilee was also a tremendous success, and we are really looking forward to this year’s event.”
The weekend-spanning Jubilee starts Friday, September 7th with registration for the 2nd annual “Northern Star” amateur singing competition (sponsored by Prince George radio station 97fm The Wolf) made available from 9:30am until 3:00pm at Barkerville’s Visitor Reception Centre, along with general information about Jubilee activities.
An informal “welcome” party at the House Hotel Saloon kicks off Friday at 7:00pm, with open-mic music and several special guest performances slated throughout the evening. Admission to the party is free (as is entrance to Barkerville after 3:00pm) and food and beverage will be available for purchase at the House Hotel.
“Northern Star” registration will also be available from 9:30am until noon at the Visitor Reception Centre on Saturday, September 8th, and at 11:00am an official Jubilee opening ceremony will take place near the big canvas tent at the front end of town.
Under that same tent at 12:00 noon a round of cowboy poetry will hold court until 1:00pm, and guests are encouraged to take the stage with poems of their own – if the spirit so takes them.
“Cowboy poetry grew out of a tradition of improvised composition carried on by workers on cattle drives and ranches in the mid to late-1800s,” said Harvey. “After a hard day’s work these drovers, or cowboys as we now call them, would gather around campfires and entertain one another with stories and folk songs.
“We’re aiming to keep that tradition alive here in Barkerville, and invite our guests to join in the fun.”
From 11:30am until 3:00pm Saturday there will also be a variety of musical performances by familiar cowboy troubadours like Allen Christie, Ed Wahl, and Gordie West, as well as entries by the “Northern Star” contestants and a few surprise guests at three Jubilee music stages – Barkerville’s Methodist Church, Kelly Saloon, and the House Hotel.
The official “finals” of the “Northern Star” competition will take place at 3:15pm on Saturday at the Methodist Church, and the winner will be invited to participate in a Cowboy and Drover Showcase revue, featuring all of Barkerville’s musical guests, at 4:30pm on the stage of the Theatre Royal.
Saturday night at 9:00pm there will be a boot-stompin’ cowboy dance at the Community Hall in nearby Wells, BC, featuring Allen Christie and his band, and at 11:00am on Sunday, September 9th, Gordie West will host a “Cowboy Church” service at St. Saviour’s, built in 1869.
“Whether you ride, play, sing, dance, or just like to whoop it up on the trail from time to time, Barkerville is the place to be September 7th to 9th,” said Harvey. “Thanks in large part to a dedicated group of cowboy culture enthusiasts, as well as our Community Supporters Barkerville Gold Mines Limited and Quesnel’s Sandman Hotel, the 2nd(ish) annual Cowboy and Drover Jubilee is a great addition to Barkerville’s 150th anniversary fall season.”
For more information about Barkerville’s Cowboy and Drover Jubilee, or any of the National Historic Site’s 150th anniversary special events, please visit www.barkerville.ca/events.htm.
For a daily schedule of Jubilee events, please click HERE.