Musicians are tuning their instruments for one of the most anticipated outdoor concerts in the Foothills.
Banjo player Cam Lansdell will step on the Longstock Music and Arts Festival stage in Longview for the first time this weekend with Foothills band Bucking Horse Moon.
The upbeat country and Americana band is slated to perform a 45-minute set Saturday at 6 p.m. in Longview’s Smith-Fuller Centennial Park.
“We’ve got a following in the local area so I’m glad we finally get to play there,” said Lansdell. “Playing with great musicians is an honour and it’s humbling, too. You get to see these people who have really dedicated their lives to their craft.”
Bucking Horse Moon got its start in 2014, playing for friends around the Longview area. The following years saw lineup changes and the development of original tunes.
“Mostly we just played covers and slipped a few originals in our sets for quite a few years now,” he said. “There’s some funny ones and there’s some love songs. Our love songs tend to be a little bit bittersweet and the funny ones are hell-raising type things.”
At Longstock, Bucking Horse Moon’s audience can expect “a bunch of original material that we’re really proud of,” said Lansdell
As for covers, the band’s influences include Turnpike Troubadours and Mike and the Moonpies.
Bucking Horse Moon plays once or twice a month at local bars and weddings, as well as outdoor gigs, so it’s used to an outdoor setting, said Lansdell.
“Often times we set up on somebody’s deck or behind someone’s barn,” he said. “It’s a challenge to get the sound right when you’re outside.”
Longstock organizer Jess Waterman-Hals said the outdoor atmosphere is a big draw.
“People come for the music and the atmosphere,” she said. “A lot of people will bring their lawn-chairs and blankets and get up and dance. It’s just a good time.”
Sixteen bands are slated to play every hour starting at noon Saturday and Sunday. Calgary country-rock, Top 40s musician Lori Kole will headline Saturday from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Calgary rock band Saints & Sinners headlines Sunday from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Waterman-Hals said Longstock appeals to a wide range of listeners from children to seniors, and typically draws 1,500 people to the village of about 300 people.
“It’s just a nice afternoon to catch up with friends and have some beers and listen to some good music,” she said. “I love the music. My husband and I go for a nice afternoon of dancing. It’s such a nice atmosphere.”
Longstock has become an annual tradition for Foothills folk band The Travelling Mabels.
“They want us back every year and we sell a lot of CDs there,” said Eva Levesque, Mama Mabel. “People expect the locals to be there.”
The Mabels are bringing something different to the table this year after developing its own sound for oldies like Delta Dawn, Blue Bayou and The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.
“Instead of a lot of the same material that we’ve been playing, we’ve got some old songs,” Levesque said. “Those are songs that never die, in my opinion. It will be a refreshing change, even as a band, to sing some of the best of that era, basically, ’60s, ’70s folky kind of music.”
The foursome performs Sunday at 2 p.m. on the day dedicated to folk music. Saturday’s music tends to be more up tempo, classic rock.
“It’s so much fun and it’s so easy,” said Levesque of Longstock. “We don’t have to haul any gear, we just bring our guitars on stage and do a quick little sound check.”
Levesque said she’s always on board when there’s an opportunity to sing at home, especially in the outdoors.
“There’s no sound bouncing back at you like in a room or hall,” she said. “Out there the sound just carries into the air and just floats away. Everybody’s on the grass with their shoes off. It’s so relaxed and so wonderful. I just love it.”
The Longstock Music and Arts Festival runs from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Saturday and noon to 7 p.m. Sunday,. It also features a market showcasing jewelry, clothing, art and canned goods, as well as a concession and beer garden.
Tickets cost $20, or $30 for the weekend, and can be bought at the gate. Children ages 12 and under are free.