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Photo feature: They rocked the Kootenays, all right

Where else would you rather have been than Western Financial Place, for the inaugural Rock the Kootenays Classic Rock Festival?
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Helix, at Western Financial Place in Cranbrook for Rock The Kootenays, Friday, Aug. 11. Barry Coulter photo

Forget the term “Classic,” as if this were a museum, or an archive, or a language that no one speaks anymore.

Rock music is ageless, organic, hardworking, vital, and speaking a language that everybody understands, and sings along to.

Still, if we could be transported back to the 1980s, Canada’s Golden Age of Rock, who wouldn’t want to go?

Rock, of course, is timeless, and if there was any doubt about that, killer sets by Helix, The Headpins and Kim Mitchell on Day 1 of the Inaugural Rock the Kootenays Classic Rock Festival put paid to that, not to mention Day 2, with Lee Aaron, Harlequin, Prism and Tom Cochrane.

It was an arduous journey to get here, by all accounts, to get set up at Western Financial Place, to get the tickets in pockets, to get the bands to the stage … but like they say, it’s the destination, not the journey, and 3,000 people rocking out in the summer heat to great music is the bottom line.

Helix, led by vocalist Brian Vollmer, brought their two guitar attack and ageless enthusiasm to kick off events Friday afternoon. Helix ran through their songbook of hits like Heavy Metal Love, No Rest for the Wicked, Wild in the Streets, Even Jesus Wasn’t Loved in His Hometown, and Animal House. Helix is celebrating its 50th annversary as a band next year, but there was nothing tired-sounding about them.

The Headpins took the stage, and turned it loud, all right, with Rose Laricchiuta on vocals bringing the power to Don’t Matter What You Say, Just One More Time, Turn It Out, and of course, Don’t It Make Ya Feel.

The Great Kim Mitchell came on to bring on sundown. Mitchell and the band had the expanse of Western Financial Place rocking, with numbers like Rocklandwonderland, Rock & Roll Duty, That’s a Man, and hits Easy to Tame, Patio Lanterns and Go For Soda. They even threw in some Max Webster — High Class in Borrowed Shoes, Here Among the Cats, et al.

Cue up Saturday, Day 2, with a huge crowd in attendance.Canada’s Metal Queen Lee Aaron, backed by a punchy power trio of bass, guitar, drums, revuing her songbook from the ’80s through to her most recent album, Elevate, released just last year. What a way to launch the afternoon, with crowds even bigger than Friday, mellowing out on a pleasant summer afternoon.

When Harlequin hit the stage, it was like the return of an old friend, and the crowd pushed forward to the stage to rock out to “You Are The Light,” “Innocence,” “I Did It For Love,” and other great songs from the five-piece band, led by singer George Belanger, who was celebrating his birthday, Aug. 12.

Prism and Tom Cochrane took over Rock & Roll duties later Saturday.

Come Sunday, the skies were blazing and the temperatures high. The misting stations on festival grounds were a popular draw. Teaze took the stage to raise the temperatures even further.

Streetheart followed, blasting through hits like What Kind Of Love Is This, Meanwhile Back In Paris, and of course Under My Thumb.

Honeymoon Suite rocked hard as the sun started dropping for the evening. Canadian Rock giants April Wine closed the weekend.

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Helix, at Western Financial Place in Cranbrook for Rock The Kootenays, Friday, Aug. 11. Barry Coulter photo
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Helix, at Western Financial Place in Cranbrook for Rock The Kootenays, Friday, Aug. 11. Barry Coulter photo
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Helix, at Western Financial Place in Cranbrook for Rock The Kootenays, Friday, Aug. 11. Barry Coulter photo
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Helix, at Western Financial Place in Cranbrook for Rock The Kootenays, Friday, Aug. 11. Barry Coulter photo
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Helix, at Western Financial Place in Cranbrook for Rock The Kootenays, Friday, Aug. 11. Barry Coulter photo
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Headpins, at Western Financial Place in Cranbrook for Rock The Kootenays, Friday, Aug. 11. Barry Coulter photo
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Headpins, at Western Financial Place in Cranbrook for Rock The Kootenays, Friday, Aug. 11. Barry Coulter photo
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Headpins, at Western Financial Place in Cranbrook for Rock The Kootenays, Friday, Aug. 11. Barry Coulter photo
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Headpins, at Western Financial Place in Cranbrook for Rock The Kootenays, Friday, Aug. 11. Barry Coulter photo
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Headpins, at Western Financial Place in Cranbrook for Rock The Kootenays, Friday, Aug. 11. Barry Coulter photo
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Headpins, at Western Financial Place in Cranbrook for Rock The Kootenays, Friday, Aug. 11. Barry Coulter photo
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Kim Mitchell, at Western Financial Place in Cranbrook for Rock The Kootenays, Friday, Aug. 11. Barry Coulter photo
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Kim Mitchell, at Western Financial Place in Cranbrook for Rock The Kootenays, Friday, Aug. 11. Barry Coulter photo
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Kim Mitchell, at Western Financial Place in Cranbrook for Rock The Kootenays, Friday, Aug. 11. Barry Coulter photo
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Kim Mitchell, at Western Financial Place in Cranbrook for Rock The Kootenays, Friday, Aug. 11. Barry Coulter photo
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Kim Mitchell, at Western Financial Place in Cranbrook for Rock The Kootenays, Friday, Aug. 11. Barry Coulter photo
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Kim Mitchell, at Western Financial Place in Cranbrook for Rock The Kootenays, Friday, Aug. 11. Barry Coulter photo
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Kim Mitchell, at Western Financial Place in Cranbrook for Rock The Kootenays, Friday, Aug. 11. Barry Coulter photo
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Lee Aaron, at Western Financial Place in Cranbrook for Rock The Kootenays, Saturday, Aug. 12. Barry Coulter photo
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Lee Aaron, at Western Financial Place in Cranbrook for Rock The Kootenays, Saturday, Aug. 12. Barry Coulter photo
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Lee Aaron, at Western Financial Place in Cranbrook for Rock The Kootenays, Saturday, Aug. 12. Barry Coulter photo
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Lee Aaron, at Western Financial Place in Cranbrook for Rock The Kootenays, Saturday, Aug. 12. Barry Coulter photo
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Lee Aaron, at Western Financial Place in Cranbrook for Rock The Kootenays, Saturday, Aug. 12. Barry Coulter photo
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Lee Aaron, at Western Financial Place in Cranbrook for Rock The Kootenays, Saturday, Aug. 12. Barry Coulter photo
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Harlequin, at Western Financial Place in Cranbrook for Rock The Kootenays, Saturday, Aug. 12. Barry Coulter photo
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Harlequin, at Western Financial Place in Cranbrook for Rock The Kootenays, Saturday, Aug. 12. Barry Coulter photo
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Harlequin, at Western Financial Place in Cranbrook for Rock The Kootenays, Saturday, Aug. 12. Barry Coulter photo
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Harlequin, at Western Financial Place in Cranbrook for Rock The Kootenays, Saturday, Aug. 12. Barry Coulter photo
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Canadian rock band Prism took to the stage at Rock The Kootenays festival on Saturday afternoon in Cranbrook. Trevor Crawley photo
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Canadian rock band Prism took to the stage at Rock The Kootenays festival on Saturday afternoon in Cranbrook. Trevor Crawley photo
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Canadian rock band Prism took to the stage at Rock The Kootenays festival on Saturday afternoon in Cranbrook. Trevor Crawley photo
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Tom Cochrane closed out Saturday evening’s lineup of Rock the Kootenays festival in Cranbrook. Trevor Crawley photo.
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Tom Cochrane closed out Saturday evening’s lineup of Rock the Kootenays festival in Cranbrook. Trevor Crawley photo.
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Tom Cochrane closed out Saturday evening’s lineup of Rock the Kootenays festival in Cranbrook. Trevor Crawley photo.
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Teaze, at Western Financial Place in Cranbrook for Rock The Kootenays, Sunday, Aug. 13. Barry Coulter photo
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Teaze, at Western Financial Place in Cranbrook for Rock The Kootenays, Sunday, Aug. 13. Barry Coulter photo
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Teaze, at Western Financial Place in Cranbrook for Rock The Kootenays, Sunday, Aug. 13. Barry Coulter photo
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Teaze, at Western Financial Place in Cranbrook for Rock The Kootenays, Sunday, Aug. 13. Barry Coulter photo
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Streetheart, at Rock The Kootenays festival on Sunday afternoon in Cranbrook. Barry Coulter photo
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Streetheart, at Rock The Kootenays festival on Sunday afternoon in Cranbrook. Barry Coulter photo
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Streetheart, at Rock The Kootenays festival on Sunday afternoon in Cranbrook. Barry Coulter photo
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Streetheart, at Rock The Kootenays festival on Sunday afternoon in Cranbrook. Barry Coulter photo
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Streetheart, at Rock The Kootenays festival on Sunday afternoon in Cranbrook. Barry Coulter photo
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Honeymoon Suite at Rock The Kootenays festival, Sunday, Aug. 13, in Cranbrook.Trevor Crawley photo
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Honeymoon Suite at Rock The Kootenays festival, Sunday, Aug. 13, in Cranbrook.Trevor Crawley photo
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Honeymoon Suite at Rock The Kootenays festival, Sunday, Aug. 13, in Cranbrook.Trevor Crawley photo
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Honeymoon Suite at Rock The Kootenays festival, Sunday, Aug. 13, in Cranbrook.Trevor Crawley photo
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April Wine at Rock The Kootenays festival, Sunday, Aug. 13, in Cranbrook.Trevor Crawley photo
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April Wine at Rock The Kootenays festival, Sunday, Aug. 13, in Cranbrook.Trevor Crawley photo
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April Wine at Rock The Kootenays festival, Sunday, Aug. 13, in Cranbrook.Trevor Crawley photo
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April Wine at Rock The Kootenays festival, Sunday, Aug. 13, in Cranbrook.Trevor Crawley photo
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April Wine at Rock The Kootenays festival, Sunday, Aug. 13, in Cranbrook.Trevor Crawley photo


Barry Coulter

About the Author: Barry Coulter

Barry Coulter had been Editor of the Cranbrook Townsman since 1998.
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