It’s Cowboy time again at Barkerville Historic Town & Park

In Brief

  • Barkerville’s annual Cowboy & Drover Jubilee kicks off a weekend of cattle drive-themed music and poetry on Friday, September 11th
  • Registration for the 5th annual “Northern Star” amateur singing competition available until noon on Saturday, September 12th
  • Returning line-up includes: Budd Webb, Ed Wahl, the Gordie West Band, the Hanson Family, Joey Only, and 2011 Northern Star winner Terry Wozney
  • New this year: 2015 Kamloops Cowboy Festival Rising Star winners Mack Station, singer-songwriter Leslie Ross, and Quesnel-based Cowboy Poet Bill Atkinson
  • An informal welcome party will take place on Friday, September 12th, from 7:00 PM until 11:00 PM, at the House Hotel in Barkerville
  • A Saturday night dance at the House Hotel and a licensed open-mic stage at the Kelly Saloon will round out a day of music and poetry presentations on September 12th
  • Barkerville historian Richard Wright will deliver a “boot hill” tour of the Barkerville Cemetery at 9:00 PM on Saturday, September 12th
  • Sunday, September 13th at 11:00 AM will see St. Saviour’s Anglican host a traditionally Cowboy Church
  • Open-mic music will cap off the weekend at the House Hotel from noon until 3:00 PM

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In Detail

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 6th to 8th, the National Historic Site will once again honour a century of cowboy music, spoken word, and dance at Barkerville’s annual Cowboy & Drover Jubilee.

“Cowboy poetry and music grew out of a tradition of improvised entertainment carried on by people on cattle drives and ranches in the mid to late-1800s,” said James Douglas, Barkerville’s Manager of Visitor Experiences. “After a day of hard work these drovers, or cowboys as we call them today, would gather around a campfire and entertain one another with stories, folk songs, and acoustic music.”

The weekend-spanning Jubilee starts Friday, September 11th with registration for the 5th annual “Northern Star” amateur singing competition available from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm at Barkerville’s Visitors’ Reception Centre, along with general information about Jubilee activities. “Northern Star” registration will also be available from 10:00am until noon at the Visitor Reception Centre on Saturday, September 12th. 

An informal “welcome” party at the House Hotel Saloon kicks off Friday at 7:00 pm, with open-mic music and several special guest performances slated throughout the evening. Admission to the party is free (and entrance to Barkerville is by donation after 3:00 pm) and food and beverage will be available for purchase at the House Hotel.

From Saturday at 11:00 am until 4:00 pm there will be a full slate of musical performances and cowboy poetry recitations by familiar cowboy troubadours like Bud Webb, Ed Wahl, and the Gordie West Band, as well as a variety of special guests like Joey Only, the Hanson Family, and inaugural “Northern Star” winner Terry Wozney at five different Jubilee stages – Barkerville’s Methodist Church, St. Saviour’s Anglican Church, the Kelly Saloon, Barkerville School, and the House Hotel.

New this year: 2015 Kamloops Cowboy Festival Rising Star winners Mack Station, singer-songwriter Leslie Ross, and Quesnel-based Cowboy Poet Bill Atkinson.

The official “finals” of the “Northern Star” competition takes place at 4:30 pm on Saturday at Barkerville’s historic Theatre Royal, and the winner will be invited to participate in a Cowboy & Drover Showcase revue, featuring all of Barkerville’s musical guests, from 5:30 pm to 7:00(ish) pm on the Theatre Royal stage. The Hotel Saloon revs up again at 8:00 pm for a boot-stomping cowboy dance and sing-along, and will go ‘til late. The Kelly Saloon will also be licensed and open Saturday evening as an ope-mic second stage, and Barkerville’s own Richard Wright will lead interested parties on a frightening “boot hill” tour of the Barkerville cemetery at 9:00 pm.

Guests will have a chance to repent their evening of suds and sin at 11:00 am on Sunday, September 13th, when Gordie West hosts a “Cowboy Church” service at St. Saviour’s Anglican Church, built in 1869. More open-mic music will continue at the House Hotel from noon until 3:00 pm, and the Theatre Royal’s ever-popular Gold Rush Nuggets will play at 1:00 pm.

“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 11th to 13th,” said Douglas. “Thanks in large part to a dedicated group of cowboy culture enthusiasts, Barkerville’s Cowboy & Drover Jubilee is a great addition to our fall season, and we’re looking forward to this year’s event.”

For more information about Barkerville’s annual Cowboy & Drover Jubilee, or any of the National Historic Site’s seasonal special events, please visit

For a 2015 Barkerville Cowboy & Drover Jubilee preliminary schedule of events, please click on the image below, or here.