The wineshop of The Vibrant Vine at Okanagan Villa Winery – check out the upright piano on the left!  (Photo: Courtesy of Tourism Kelowna)
The wineshop of The Vibrant Vine at Okanagan Villa Winery – check out the upright piano on the left! (Photo: Courtesy of Tourism Kelowna)

Kelowna rocks!

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Today we get ready to welcome the Western Canadian Music Awards, known as BreakOut West, to Kelowna for the next 3 days. We are about to get completely spoiled from the point of view of high quality indie rock performances: about 70 bands will be showcased over 3 days in an entertainment extravaganza that we can all enjoy for just $20 for a festival wristband. Bands like the Grapes of Wrath, We Are The City, Doc Walker, and Bif Naked, among many, many others, will be on showcase for the whole weekend.

This is a big deal – it’s being televised nationally be CBC (English and French networks) for the first time in the festival’s 8 year history, and all kinds of talented musicians are descending on Kelowna to share their tunes and hits with us, not to mention the media outlets that follow them.

Kelowna is proving the perfect setting for the extravaganza. Why? Because we have some really phenomenal venues, great accommodations for bands and guests, and a great base of volunteers and technical experts who are on hand to make it happen. Not only that, but as festival organizer Rick Fenton pointed out in a press conference last month, “I’m finding out more and more that Kelowna seems to be the most wired place in Canada.”

Furthermore, this city offers fertile grounds for musical growth. Scrape the surface just a little bit, and you’ll find that a great number of businesspeople in the community have ties to various genres of music. If you’re visiting Kelowna during BreakOut West, you might want to put these stops on your touring itinerary, as they’ll all be businesses with direct ties to the music industry:

Summerhill Pyramid Winery – The Cipes family who own and operate the winery are each talented musicians in their own right. Patriarch Stephen Cipes is a gifted pianist and improv musician, and has placed a baby grand in his 4-storey Pyramid which doubles as his wine cellar. Sons Ezra (guitar, banjo) and Gabe Cipes (bass) were part of a band called 'The Way Out', and were signed to Bif Naked's record label. "We toured with Bif around western Canada," Ezra tells me. "After that, Gabe and I were both session musicians on Tegan and Sara's album 'If It Was You', and we toured with them."

Vibrant Vines at Okanagan Villa Winery – The Lewis family are the owners of this brand new winery in East Kelowna, where son Tony Lewis is the winemaker. Tony’s background includes working as a record producer in Colorado, and drumming as part of the Lewis brothers’ band Storytyme which toured in parts of the US and regularly played at The Boulder Theater, The Fox Theater, The Belly Up (Aspen), The Soiled Dove and the infamous, Red Rocks Amphitheater. Storytyme has also toured with the band Blind Melon as the opening band for their shows. Evidence of the brothers’ alter ego as musicians is just about everywhere at this winery, starting with the upright piano that you’ll find in the winery’s front yard.

Many more attractions and wineries have roots in music. Want to know about others? Check out our blog at Kelowna's Juicy Tips for the scoop.

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About the Author

Catherine is the Media Relations Manager for Tourism Kelowna and is dedicated to building Kelowna's intrigue as a travel destination through her work with the travel media. In her role she is fortunate to find out about Kelowna's many secret gems attractions, activities, and interesting people that are a surprise for travel media, tourists, and even for residents. This column gives her the chance to share with you the many things that make Kelowna unique and unforgettable so that you can glean ideas of places to visit or take guests when they come to town.

For more information visit Tourism Kelowna's blog at www.kelownasjuicytips.com.

[email protected]

or, on Twitter at:  @TKCatherine and @Tourism_Kelowna

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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