Flag Stop Festival delivers arts for everyone

Dance, improv, music, theatre and more on weekend schedule at The Point on Alta Lake

Geoff Berner’s musical style is unique, to say the least. Combining his roots in punk music with klezmer, the traditional dance and celebration music of Jewish people of Eastern Europe, the Vancouver artist has carved out a niche that may seem out of place in most lineups. But at this weekend’s fourth annual Flag Stop Festival (Aug. 7-8), Berner’s act will be right
at home.
With this year’s theme centered around collaboration, the weekend festival will see a wide variety of unique acts spanning across: music, dance, poetry, impov and more; all combined with the scenic backdrop of The Point on Alta Lake.
“A combination of different art forms makes a lot of sense,” said Berner, fresh off a show in Manitoba. “I don’t like a ghettoization of styles or forms: I like art to just be people that come together with different kinds of art. It’s just in a gorgeous setting too; it’s a perfect place to hang out.”
Stephen Vogler, who is again organizing the festival, first found out about Berner after he performed a solo show in Whistler. However this time around, the accordion player will be bringing a whole band with him for a Friday night show at the Heritage Lodge stage.
The following night’s musical act is another uncommon combination, as Carolyn Mark and the Room-Mates mix humour and music in a sound she describes as “alt-country cabaret.”
“I’m excited about the bands that are coming,” said Vogler. “They are both very unique and will be well worth the price of admission.”
On the acting side, Friday night will mark the debut of Sex at Sea, a one-act play written be Vancouver’s Brian Kaufman, which he wrote specifically to be performed on the festival’s iconic floating stage. Then on Saturday night it will be Crossing Lines, a multi-disciplinary piece that Vogler says examines what is common between artistic disciplines and what divides them.
Both nights will also have performances by Get to the Point improv, Saturday afternoon will have roaming musicians and lantern making and again the weekend will close with the lantern boat procession on Saturday night.
Over its brief history, the signature event of The Point Artist-Run Centre has already seen steady growth, going from a one-day festival to a two-day event and attracting more acts over the years. This year the festival received its first grant from the B.C. Arts Council, and also made a point of working out a deal with Legends Hotel to encourage out-of-town visitors.
“That’s something we really want to move towards next year, this was just sort of dipping our toes in the water on that. To make it beyond a Whistler audience, I’d like to be enticing people to come up from elsewhere, because I think it’s a pretty magical scenario that’s going on and if we can keep promoting it, I think it can attract people from far and wide,” said Vogler.
Growing to that level won’t be without its challenges though, as the festival is taking place the same weekend as the Squamish Music Festival. Last year’s Flag Stop came at the end of August, but Vogler said the weather was more unpredictable around that time, so it was bumped up to this weekend. Still, he and Berner both said that it will be a party well worth attending.
“Not everybody wants to leave town that weekend. There’s something happening right in your backyard with the most beautiful location in the valley,” said Vogler. “If you’re around it’s a great thing to come out to and see what your local artists have put together. It’s a fun night of partying.”
Entry to the entire festival as well as dinner for two nights is $70, but tickets

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