Feature Story                                                                                                       Sunday, July 20, 2014


Facing the Music

Local bands provide big entertainment at Party in the Park

Staff/Voice photos


Clarence lead singer Chad Blackey tore it up with his powerful vocals at Central Community park last Friday.


his year, Party in the Park (PITP) can be described in simple terms as a small town friendly outdoor music event. Local bands entertaining hometown crowds.

It was the second of four events hosted by the Chilliwack Business Improvement Association (BIA) on Fridays throughout the summer. This week, a slightly smaller but enthusiastic crowd came out to support the city's musicians and downtown businesses.

BIA Executive Director Kyle Williams told the Voice he wasn't sure if it was the cloudy weather that kept crowds away from the park in the first hour, but that soon changed.


"People started coming later and we've got lots now," said Williams. "We put this on, inviting the whole community, so the more people, the better. We see a lot of different demographic. We see people of all ages here. These are people coming downtown and we want to give them an experience."

This year, Williams took over from different organizers and says they have most of the kinks worked out except when it comes to snakes.

According to Williams, a person came into the park with a hefty reptile draped around their neck. That's where the BIA boss had to draw the line, and unfortunately, the snake couldn't stay for the festivities.

Another issue organizers had to iron out was parking within the party zone. Williams has to ensure that all event-goers are safe so he has prohibited car movement behind the barricades.

But all in all, Williams says his first PITP events have been a well-oiled machine without any major obstacles.

"This week, we corrected some stuff from last week and now we've got three weeks to breathe before we go again with another great event," he said.

These women were having a blast dancing to Head Over Heels on Friday.

Williams says emcee Trevor Macdonald has worked wonders putting the shows together.

"He's worked really hard bringing in the bands and coordinating all of that. He's just been awesome," said Williams, adding that Chances Casino is the event's entertainment sponsor with the "Community Stage".

The headline act Friday was a local Chilliwack band called Clarence with singer/guitarist Cary "Cozy Pines" Britton, bass guitarist Brock Riley, singer/guitarist Chad Blackey and drummer Dean Young.

Britton told the Voice that for the most part, the band plays original songs, but they'd be playing covers for a "couple of people" for the PITP audience. He didn't indicate if that was for talent scouts.

"We'll be playing a cover by Lindsey Buckingham tonight called Holiday Road and a Vaseline's cover," he said.

The band doesn't have a CD recorded yet, but Britton says they're just getting started on that part.

One of Clarence's signature songs he's excited about is called Can't Help You.

"It's kind of an alternative-country song about big business," he said.

Another feature act, Head Over Heels, got the crowd on their feet with a repertoire of 90's cover songs.

It's a tough decision for bands to play cover tunes because they know the audience will be more critical.


But, if you closed your eyes while Lori Paul was singing Barracuda, you would have thought you were hearing Ann Wilson.

Paul, who sings with another local band called "Spiderlodge", was standing-in for Head Over Heels regular lead singer, put on a memorable vocal performance, despite having had just two practice sessions together.

Bass player Marcel Kettingoliver, who was substituting for the regular bass player, told the Voice after their set that Paul was a Godsend to them.

"Another singer was going to help us out and then she got laryngitis," explained Kettingoliver. "Then, out of the blue, Jeff Bonner from Tractorgrease called Lori up."

Kettingoliver said that the Heart cover song was the best he's ever heard anyone sing it.

"She killed it. Lori really surprised me the way she entertains. The energy. I've never seen that from her. We don't practice that way," he said.

Dean Young from Clarence put on a drumming clinic at Party in the Park.

Some people in the audience were musicians who played at PITP in previous years, but because there are only four event nights this year, they didn't get the call.

"I hope we can next year," said one musician. "Our fingers are crossed."


Other acts on the bill at PITP Tropical Night on Friday included Project Dance, No Time Flat, Aerophonics and The Rub.

Get ready for a PITP hoe-down with  "Farmer Night" on Friday, August 15. Look for more vendors in the Winmar Marketplace and the Murray Honday Food Fair, as well as an expanded O'Connor Dodge Chrysler Jeep Family Fun Zone. Parents will also find an "Activity Zone for kids that is sponsored by the University of the Fraser Valley.

Acts to watch for; the Capella Dance troupe, John Welsh Band, Amanda Thate, Barefoot feat Jeff Scott and Geoff Eyre, the Nikki Werner Band and local rockabilly band The Lounge Hounds feat Keith Marr, Evan Peter Duncan and Tyson Joel Finley.

Amps and various stage gear was supplied by Long and McQuade. Sound mixing was courtesy of Go Audio and the stage/lights came from Tractorgrease Studio.

For more information about the Chilliwack Business Improvement Association, visit


See more photos below.


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