When the owners of Red Bird Brewing Company decided to renovate and expand their facility, live music was their number one priority.
The Nest Fest music festival was exactly the type of event they envisioned for their renewed space.
“People come here and their eyes kind of pop out of their heads and they’re like, ‘Wow, that’s great because they know how it started with just a 30-seat room,'” said Adam Semeniuk, Red Bird Brewing. “That was always the plan to come here and it happened within five years, which is really cool.”
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The first-ever Nest Fest combined great beer with great music to celebrate the brewery’s fifth birthday and fourth year of existence as a live music hub. The event is scheduled to take place annually and brought 22 bands to the stage in front of nearly 1,500 spectators over three days.
“We have many local musicians who perform here regularly. They will perform here three or four times a year and we also filter some outside guests,” Semeniuk said. “We have 80 percent local talent and then we brought a headliner from Vancouver, some DJs from Vancouver, but for the most part it’s local bands that have been playing here for four years.”
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It’s a moment for Kelowna band The Nomads to perform at the festival.
“We formed at a Red Bird event a few years ago,” said James Gass, lead singer and rhythm guitarist for The Nomads. “I wasn’t in a band and I was here at Canada Day to listen to music and happened to meet a gentleman with long hair who is now our bass player… We just finished our first EP and single.”
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Kansas Hatherly, who lives in Osoyoos and performs as Kansas-Lee, has played at the venue for years.
“They hired me to play a couple of times, only if it was in the little building… and then they expanded on that [larger venue]’ Hatherly said. “I haven’t seen that since [out of town] and came back a week ago and was like ‘wow’.”
The unique atmosphere created at the larger venue has created a home for the local music community and those who enjoy listening.