Headline Jesse Roper provided a fitting end to the first All Ways Home music festival at Langford’s Starlight Stadium on Sunday.
The Metchosin resident and sizzling blues guitarist with a powerful voice to match couldn’t get the smile off his face as he started his roughly 70-minute set.
“I’ve missed you guys so much,” he shouted, extending his hands wide to add, I’ve missed you this much.”
With festivals and large-scale concerts largely absent over the past 18 months or so, Roper sounded ecstatic to be out playing a large venue again.
The crowd responded in kind as he rolled through his eclectic original material, from blues to country rock to an A-E-I-O-U didgeridoo-style chant that he prefaced with, “Now we’re gonna get weird!”
Roper, who has gained solid local radio play over the years with such blues favourites as The Hurricane’s Eye, Shiny Round Nickel and Right Now, was the consummate showman, playing to the crowd and having fun on stage.
He followed up an inspired, if rather hastily put-together set from Galiano Island electronic duo Funk Hunters, who filled in at the 11th hour for Juno Award winners Snotty Nose Rez Kids.
Sampling from a variety of pop hits and other well-known songs, Nick Middleton and Duncan Smith churned out infectious, danceable beats and rhythms that had the crowd movin’ and groovin’ virtually the whole time.Victoria folk rockers Jon and Roy put together a toe-tapping set of their own ahead of Funk Hunters, drawing on the acoustic-electric original material that has made them huge local favourites.
Unlike the first day of the festival Saturday, Sunday’s schedule wasn’t interrupted by rain, which helped keep more of the crowd around.