The 39 Days of July kicked off at noon on Friday June 25 with a set from Chemainus resident Bill Hamilton. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)

The 39 Days of July kicked off at noon on Friday June 25 with a set from Chemainus resident Bill Hamilton. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)

39 Days of July a wild success despite COVID-19 hurdles

Done and dusted for another year, the organizers of the 39 Days of July have accomplished the impossible. The crew began the annual music festival under strict public health guidelines on June 25 and slowly but surely, morphed it from a small indoor and online to-do into the bigger park bash in downtown Duncan beloved by so many that wrapped up with a bang on Aug. 2.

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“There was a crazy idea 11 years ago to run a 39-day festival just to see. Nobody in their right mind is going to run a 40-day festival,” Longevity John Falkner told the crowd from the stage after the last act had wrapped up the music festival at Charles Hoey Park.

It was clear Falkner was pleased they pulled it off, and with such panache.

“[We had] quite a team, nobody yelled at each other this year except for a couple times but it was never serious,” he joked.

Falkner noted that the park tents and chairs and sound equipment would be taken down within 90 minutes.

“You guys will just walk by here and go ‘whatever happened? It’s gone’. You were part of a dream. You were part of a wonderful dream that I had.”

Having a Plan A, backed up with Plans B, C, and D helped.

“It went better than ever expected,” Falkner later said. “Audience numbers were way up, not a frown in town was noticed.”

Falkner said more than 200 acts featuring roughly 400 performers in total played the event. Those taking the stage ran the gamut from folk to pop, young to seniors. There were tribute bands and original songs; Cowichan Valley locals and guests from Vancouver and Victoria.

Up next is “Wine Down Wednesdays” in August with performances at 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. in City Square, followed by the 40th Day of July on Sunday, Sept. 5, from 3 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., also in the Square.



sarah.simpson@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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