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Artisan returns to festival

Royal City artist among those at annual blues event
artisans' village
Crafty ideas: The artisans' village at Burnaby Blues and Roots Festival featured a variety of crafts, clothing and jewelry for festival goers to browse through.

Fun was in abundance at the Burnaby Blues and Roots Festival on Aug. 10.

Despite the hot sun, people young and old crowded into the Deer Lake Park venue to take in rocking artists from all over North America, including Canadian headliners Blue Rodeo.

And there was more than just bands for people to check out. The artisans' village featured a variety of items for sale including, jewelry, crafts, and clothing.

Festival veteran and New Westminster resident Susan Otto-Bain was back again, selling a wide variety of glasswork items, including earrings, pendants, and beads, all handmade by herself.

"Even if I sold nothing, I'd still come," Otto-Bain told The Record. "It's my favourite show."

Otto-Bain said the festival is her business' most lucrative show.

She has been coming to the Blues and Roots Festival for more than five years. The amount of organization that goes into the event is the main reason she keeps returning each year, she said.

"They supply the tent, the tables, everything, it's great," she said.

The 14th annual festival kicked off at 1 p.m. - one hour earlier than previous years to accommodate the additional musicians. By the time Shakura S'Aida took to the main stage, the lawn was packed with thousands of people.

This year organizers staggered the main stage performances with two smaller

stages - the Westwood and Garden stages.

Charlene Araki and Randy Gustason made the trek to Burnaby from Maple Ridge to check out their very first Blues and Roots Festival, and while they were there to see headliners Blue Rodeo, they said they were impressed by the other musicians who performed.

"It's a good venue, good music," Araki added.

Charles Bradley - the Screaming Eagle of Soul - was especially impressive, Araki said.

The 64-year-old soul singer wowed crowds with his lively performance. Spectators waited anxiously for Bradley, and when he emerged - in a bright purple body suit adorned with glitter (think Elvis' Las Vegas years) - both fans and non-fans weren't let down.

Bradley swooped, dipped, danced and screamed on stage for more than an hour and when it came time to say goodbye he jumped down from the stage to give folks in the dance pit hugs, kisses and well-wishes before leaving.

Finally it was time for Blue Rodeo.

And when Blue Rodeo got on stage they rocked - hard. Playing fan favourites as well as new songs from their upcoming album, they even came back for three encores, playing past the usual 10 p.m. curfew.