Melissa Martin

Solstice Arts Festival takes over Alberni’s Rotary Arts District

The festival unites four art groups in the Valley for an entire weekend of arts, music and entertainment to celebrate the start of summer.

One large arts festival is taking over the Alberni Valley’s Rotary Arts District on June 17 to 19.

The Solstice Arts Festival unites four art groups in the Valley for an entire weekend of arts, music and entertainment to celebrate the start of summer.

The Community Arts Council of the Alberni Valley spearheaded the festival, joined by Portal Players Dramatic Society, the Alberni Art Rave Society and the Art Matters Society in bringing this new community event to the Rotary Arts District on Argyle.

“My intention was to bring arts and culture and community together,” Melissa Martin, arts administrator at the Rollin Art Centre said. “Rather than having the four individual groups on individual weekends my hope was to unify us all and to work together to bring something wonderful for the community.”

Festivities kick off on Friday, June 17 with opening ceremonies happening at 5 p.m. at the Rollin Art Centre, with an artist reception with Dennis Olsen and Mystic Groove to follow. Lazy Mike and the Rockin Recliners will playing at the Capitol Theatre at 8:30 p.m.

Saturday brings art of all sorts to Argyle Street from spoken word artists, musical groups and visual art exhibits. Events begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday and run until 9:30 p.m. Theatre productions will also be happening at the Capitol Theatre from 2 -9:30 p.m.

Sunday, the final day of the festival, begins at 10 a.m. and runs until 3 p.m. with events happening on Argyle Street and at the Capitol Theatre.

With a goal to support local artists, Martin said she hopes to make the Solstice Arts Festival an annual event.

“We’ve got such a diverse art scene here and I think this will make it grow… I’m hoping that this will bring people into the community and see what we do have,” Martin said.

Planning for the event began about a year and a half ago when Martin proposed to the other three community arts groups to join forces to create one giant arts festival.

“There’s strength in numbers and I think once the community sees what there is they’ll embrace it,” Martin said.

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The Alberni Art Rave Society have done their own festival, Art Rave, for the past three years and chair, Jillian Mayne, is excited to collaborate with the other community arts groups to create one large festival.

“It gives the community a more diverse festival and representation from all of the arts, not just the visual arts,” Mayne said.

Mayne said the Art Rave Society will have art displays and tents set up on Argyle Street, between Fourth and Fifth Avenue, from Saturday morning until Sunday afternoon; that section of the road will be closed during those times.

Art rave will have activities available for all ages throughout the weekend and will be offering a chance to take part in collaborative art like musical easels, jewelry sculpting and still-life drawing.

“There will be lots of colour and action and music,” Mayne said.

Some of the street events and performances are free of charge while some will require a wrist band for access.

Weekend passes can be purchased at the Rollin Art Centre, Capitol Theatre and Char’s Landing.

Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors and students, $50 for a family pass (two adults and two students) and children under 12 years old are free with a paid adult ticket.

Tickets cover admission for the weekend’s events.

For a list of the festival’s artists and events, with specific dates and times, visit https://www.facebook.com/AlberniSolstice/timeline.

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