(Karen Horne photographer) James Thorhaug, a feature performer at last year’s Thursday Music in the Park, will be returning for Art Yeah with Fred Hill’s Allstar Blues and Roots Jam Band.

Live music, outdoor venue for Maple Ridge’s Thursday Music in the Park

Fundraiser in Pitt Meadows on June 20

Musicians from across the Lower Mainland will be descending on Maple Ridge for the second annual Thursday Music in the Park.

The free concert series takes place eight Thursdays in a row spanning July and August from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in Memorial Peace Park, downtown Maple Ridge.

First on the schedule is 4quarter and Earl Jenkins who take to the stage on the bandstand on July 4.

4quarter is a local band that was formed in the spring of 2017 and is led by Trevor Hunt, who is the lead singer and drummer. The band plays modern, progressive rock and mostly original music.

Earl Jenkins who hails from Maple Ridge bills himself as acoustic alternative rock.

On July 11 Braidwood, who compares himself to a perfectly aged wine whose songs, “have mellowed into fine and fun, highly melodic pieces of classic-style pop rock reacy to pour,” and Leenie Bennett, a singer/songwriter originally from Campbell River, who performs a mixture of smokey jazz, spoken word and folk music, hit the stage.

Alternative rock band The Alkos, along with the Samuel Robertson Technical born band Strange Ways and Alex b. Willis will be performing on July 18.

The Kat and Tony Band made up of Kat Wahamaa and Tony Rees who describe themselves as old-time blues, jazz, roots, country and swing, and Ettiene Siew, a folk, soul and blues vocalist and songwriter from Coquitlam, perform on Aug. 8.

On Aug. 15 Robbie Taylor and Ryan M. Barnes will be featured.

Aug. 22 will feature Patsy Thompson Band, who performed last year, and Maple Ridge singer/songwriter Bruce Coughlan, whose influences include Celtic music, rhythm and blues, roots, retro rock and country.

Then on Aug. 23, the third annual Art Yeah will be taking place. This is a unique event is where live artists paint on stage alongside the musicians.

“It brings very warm and welcoming creative energy being the centre of focus,” said organizer Chris Horne, who took inspiration for the event from a festival he attended in Fort St. James.

“Generally the whole purpose of what we do is to give an outlet or a conduit to allow original pieces of work to be presented,” said Horne, founder of the Variété D’Arts Society.

All the paintings will be for sale directly from the artist.

The concert series finishes up with four piece folk-rock band The Good, The Bad, and the Banjo, folk duo Zonnis from Victoria and Nathan Mananquil Aparilla on Aug. 29.

“We want original artists to shine and to give them a chance,” said Horne.

A fundraiser will be taking place to raise money for both Music in the Park and Art Yeah on at 7 p.m. on June 20 at Samz Neighbourhood Pub at 19267 Lougheed Hwy. in Pitt Meadows.

Tickets are $20 and will include a burger, beer and a side.

Pam Burns, who started Kanaka Open Mic every Wednesday at Kanaka Creek Coffee, will be hosting.

Local musician Peter Tam, who is currently working on a studio album, will be performing at the fundraiser along with Rob Taylor, whose music style spans rock, folk, pop, blues and Celtic and country and blues singer/songwriter Patsy Thompson.

There will be a 50/50 and a silent auction with rounds of golf at the Golden Ears Golf Club up for grabs along with gift cards from Canadian Tire.

Organizer Chris Horne is hoping to raise around $1,000 to match funding from the City of Maple Ridge and an anonymous donor. Money goes towards insurance and equipment rental costs. And paying the artists.

“We really want to make sure our artists are getting paid relatively fairly,” said Horne, adding that it is great to have community events in the city but the same musicians are getting asked over and over again to do the gigs.

“No one is getting rich from music. It is completely depressed right now. We’re taking it on as a society to prop it back up within our means without going completely broke ourselves,” said Horne.

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