Blues Fest 101: Young players make their rock star debut

Participants in this week's Rawk Camp will join Speed Control onstage at the festival. Watch for them at 1 p.m.

When you see some kids onstage at the Burnaby Blues + Roots Festival who look far too young to be rock stars, be sure to give them a special cheer.

They’re participants in the Rawk Camp that’s been happening this week under the leadership of Yukon-based rockers Speed Control.

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Starting on Tuesday, Aug. 6, young players aged eight to 24 have been gathering for the camp that introduces them to skills in guitar, drums, keyboards, vocals and more. The two camps – one for kids aged eight to 11, the other for players aged 12 to 24 – have been meeting all week to teach players of all skill levels some tunes to bring to the stage on Saturday.

“For the younger folks it’s going to give them a chance to say, ‘Hey, yeah, I like this,’” said Jared Bowles, marketing and sponsorship coordinator for the festival. “It’s a great way to sample if you have a son or daughter who’ve had interest (in playing music).”

Some of the players will be complete newbies; others may have some skill in their chosen instrument already. But either way, they’ll get to get up onstage on Saturday and perform in front of a huge crowd when Speed Control takes to the stage starting at 1 p.m.

Considering that the blues festival crowd typically numbers in the thousands, that’s a pretty heady thought – or a pretty terrifying one.

But Bowles noted the new players will be playing under the best possible circumstances to make for a great day.

“The great thing is, people won’t be up there all by themselves. They’ll be going up together,” he said, adding that the Burnaby Blues + Roots Festival crowd is always a friendly and supportive one. “There’ll be lots of encouragement.”

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