Feature Story                                                                                                Wednesday, July 10, 2013


Boy and Girl Bands Rock the Park

Top talent draws younger crowd to event opener

Staff/Voice photos


Pop star Victoria Duffield entertains in Chilliwack last Friday. Below, Brendan Guy croons to his fans.


hen you bring in the big acts, you get the big crowds. Estimates were that as many as 10,000 people looking to party hit Central Community Park Friday night as the highly anticipated summer concert series kicked off with Victoria Duffield headlining.


Also on the bill were Vancouver pop-rock band Halfway to Hollywood, and singers Brendan Guy and Madison Bell.


After several successful years, the events held throughout July and August, have proven to be the most popular weekly destination in Chilliwack.


Something new this year is the Seniors Corner, a spot people can go and rest for a few minutes.


City councilor Stewart McLean’s business; McLean’s Funeral Services, sponsored the tent for $250. He also brought along a large vat of Starbucks coffee and bottled water.


“It was offered to the business community and I was the first one to book a spot, and tonight I'm a sponsor and each week there will be a different sponsor,” he said. “You pay a fee for the use of the tent and then you provide the refreshments and there's tables and chairs for them to sit at.”


Chilliwack is brimming with talent. We even have one of the only singing mayors in North America so it was apropos to have Mayor Sharon Gaetz open the event with her rendition of the national anthem.


The first act, Madison Bell, 11, sang with a guitar accompaniment and proved she’s a four foot tower of power and owns the stage with amazingly strong vocals for a person her age. She’s totally at ease singing in front of hundreds of people and after the set she left many thinking that they’ll be hearing a lot more from this talented girl.


Event promoter Darcy D was excited to be back at the park.


“It's great, summertime is finally here again and the weather's cooperating, the people are here—the bowl is jam packed with two acts left.”


The second feature act on-stage were Vancouver pop-rock trio Halfway to Hollywood (HTH) who have been together just over a year and have already built up a sizeable social media profile on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. 


HTH has nurtured a strong following across the country and have sold over 7000 singles and 500 full-length EPs called “Party Like it’s Prom Night” went to number 17 on the Canadian charts. The lead-off single “Green Lights” sold over a thousand copies even before its release.


Drummer Roman Zugarazo told The Voice before their set that he was surprised at how many people were there at the park.


“It's awesome. I thought it was going to be like a smaller event, it seems like its big deal for Chilliwack, and when I heard about it I said I want to go to that,” he said.


Halfway to Hollywood tore it up Friday. Below, Madison Bell entertained a large crowd.


Not only is Zugarazo excited about their latest single called Unbelievable from the Party Like It’s prom Night EP, he says their followers are too.


“That’s the one our fans in Vancouver actually like the most and I think that's going to be a good one for sure,” he said adding “We're going to start promoting that on radio next month and get like a radio campaign, and we're going to go radio stations and play acoustic.


Earlier this year, the band played at the same park for Jobfest.


“It’s amazing. The turnout is insane and everyone is so supportive and awesome, I just want to say thanks,” said lead singer Grant Walker. “I had a great time and hopefully everybody else did, it looked like from where I was standing that people were having a good time.”


That was an understatement. These guys melted the stage. Grant Walker’s smooth, hard-driving style of vocals carried the band through several frenzied songs.


Acrobatic bassist Brenden White has a big, fun presence on the stage with almost as much fancy footwork as guitar work and has the ability to bounce all over the stage without missing a note.


Zugarazo wasn’t afraid to hit his drums either. He makes it look easy and barely broke a sweat despite temperatures in the upper 20’s.


After the show, one enthused fan was completely sold on the band.


“These guys are the new Hedley. Incredible,” he said when buying a CD. ”They rock. Totally, totally rock.”


In August the band will be on the bill at the Summer Invasion outdoor show in Regina along with Swollen Members, Down With Webster and Dragonette.


Darcy D told The Voice between sets that he recently signed Brendan Guy, 14-year-old singing sensation from Edmonton, to a music contract who he describes as already sounding mature for his age.


“We just finished the first video, and there's a video crew here tonight that's going to film him live, and then we're going to get the first single out to radio in the next couple of months,” he said.


Guy appeared at Party in the Park to rave reviews last year. Since then, his following has quadrupled in Chilliwack. He had the hordes of obsessed young girls at the front of the stage in a tizzy throughout his set. You could see most knew the words to his songs, demonstrating the impact this charismatic young man has on the local music scene.


Victoria Duffield’s high powered act brought the crowd to their feet with a show like something you’d see from Brittany Spears. Duffield engaged the audience with honey sweet vocals and accentuated her performance with some peppy little dance routines.


Connect with HTH on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/HalfwayToHollywood and Darcy D at www.darcyalive.com


See Kylee Epp, Robyn & Ryleigh and Cambree Lovesy on stage Friday July 12.


See more photos below.

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