Now that the summer is just about gone and the fall seems to have crept in, we are gearing up for the 29th Annual Season of Performing Arts. Each Season features 8 shows from September to May, all in the quaint Harrison Memorial Hall. If you have already seen a show during the season, then you probably already know that it’s the best valued entertainment around, but if you haven’t, here’s a list of ten reasons why you should give it a shot.
#10 – #justuptheroad
Contrary to some people’s ideas, Harrison Hot Springs is not really that far away. From Vancouver we are only a 1.5 hours, and from Abbotsford, we’re just a 40 minute drive which is about the same time or maybe less than an average work commute these days. Plus it’s a spectacular mini road trip along Highway 7, or #scenic7 as we like to call it. If you haven’t driven it before, you should give it a shot! Getting here!
#9 – 40 Years a of Experience
The Festival is very proud of the fact that we have been operating as an organization for 40 years, and the season of Performing Arts has been around for 29 of those years. You cannot run a successful arts organization without great programming and we pride ourselves at bringing top quality professional shows to Harrison. It takes one to know one; Andy Hillhouse, who programs both the Season and the July Festival, is a world renowned musician himself who has years of touring and recording experience (he’s even won a Juno). So rest assured, regardless if you have heard of the band or not, you can bet that you will see a high grade performance.
#8 – Great Date Night
Just picture it: A nice dinner with drinks at one of the fine restaurants in town, such as the Black Forrest Schnitzel House, or the Old Settler Pub. Follow that with a nice evening stroll around the lake lagoon at sunset. Then you come enjoy a nice concert in a intimate venue free of large bulky crowds and seating where there will most likely be dancing involved, then you head back to the Harrison Resort for a soak in the mineral pools and then… well the rest is up to you. 😉
Alternatively, it’s also a super cheap (but still classy) date too. Try the Harrison Corner Cafe or Muddy Waters for a more affordable but still very tasty meal, maybe a craft beer or two, then come to the hall and not worry about paying an absurd amount of money for a cheap show and loads of distractions. Just enjoy the night worry and debt free!
#7 – See Something New
While we often do get bands back if there is enough demand for them to return, we generally bring new and interesting programing. It’s easy to see a tribute act or a local indie rock group because they are always touring around to lots of venues throughout the Fraser Valley. But when was the last time you saw an all female vocal group from Sweden (Kongero, Oct 14th) or a Persian classical music and West African collaboration (Constantinople with Ablaye Cissoko, May 5th)? I’m going to guess you probably haven’t… And I bet you probably won’t get another chance for a quite a while either.
#6 – It’s comfortable
Going to see a show can be an absolute nightmare sometimes. You have have to squish into a tiny little seat and share an armrest with someone you don’t know. You can’t always go to the bathroom when you need or without bothering everyone around you. Your view can be blocked and when a song you like comes up, you don’t always have the opportunity to dance! At our shows however, we seat everyone in a cabaret style setting (sit at round tables), the bar is easily accessible, the stage is never far away, bathrooms are less then 20 seconds away and there is never usually a lineup, and there is always room to dance! Like I said, it’s comfortable and relaxing so you can enjoy the experience to its full potential.
#5 – It’s personal
Because of the intimate nature of our Hall, you can actually feel like you are a part of the performance rather then just a spectator. You’re often close enough to make eye contact with the performers, performers have been known to come down from the stage and interact with the audience, and there is no such thing as a bad seat! Performers quite often tell us how much they love playing the hall because of the intimacy between them and the audience without the cramped feeling of a busy bar.
#4 – Kids under 12 are free
We understand what it is like to have a family and still have a social life, it’s hard but we like to make things a little easier. Kids under 12 are free at all of our season and festival shows which is a great opportunity to share some world culture with your young ones as well as have a night out with the whole family.
#3 – Great Sound
We have always taken measures to make sure that we have not just good, but great sound at all of our concerts. Our experienced professional sound guys from Go Audio not only know what they are doing, but also know the venue intimately. So whether we get an artist like Toque Flamenco (Sept 23rd) with acoustic instruments and where dancers tap and stomp the floor or get an all out electric blues show like Carlos Del Junco (March 17th), you know that the sounds guys can make it sound like Carnegie Hall. Also, thanks to some great grant opportunities, we were able to upgrade both our sound AND lighting systems in the last 2 years so that we can offer an even greater production value.
#2 – A Great Value
We believe that we are the best valued arts presenter in the Valley. As mentioned above, we have high quality performers, high production value, an awesome venue and an overall experience you can’t get anywhere else. There are not many places around that can offer an experience like we can for as low as $25 a ticket. Where else can you get a beer at the bar for only $5 and locally roasted coffee from the The Back Porch for $1.50? It’s a steal of a deal everywhere you look and we like it that way!
#1 – A killer lineup
The 29th Season of Performing Arts has some truly great artists and something for everyone. From flamenco, to Swedish folk, to electric blues and some bluegrass, this Season is diverse and rich with culture, creativity and top grade talent. Not to mention you’ll be supporting a local non profit charitable organization that has bringing world class art to a small community for 40 years which is no little feat.
For a full breakdown of the our lineup and for more information on buying a full seasons pass or our 5 ticket Flex Pass, click here!
By Bryan Cutler
Marketing and Administrative Manager, Harrison Festival Society.