Campbell River musician and producer James Wood was walking around downtown Campbell River trying to find a way to help build the local music scene, when he had an inspiration.
“I was walking around downtown and I saw a young girl wearing a King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard shirt,” he said, referring to the Australian psychedelic rock band. “They’re one of my favorite bands … I’m like, yes! Yes!
“Then her dad kind of looked at me a little odd, but I’m like ‘that is a rad shirt. Thank you, and that inspired me.’”
What he was inspired to do is put together a music festival to help build an indie, psychedelic, punk and alternative music scene in Campbell River. As the owner of Knock on Wood studio, and as an experienced producer and promoter, Wood felt like it was a good time to get things going.
“It kind of feels like Campbell River’s like the summer of 2022,” he said. “It just needs a little fire and it’s gonna blow up. It’s so dry … There’s a bit of a diaspora a really talented musicians leaving the town because there’s nowhere for them to play … I was sitting around drinking with buddies and we’d always complain about this like. There said ‘well James, stop. Why don’t you do something about it?’”
The Indie Rock in the River festival, which will be held next Saturday (Feb. 25) is the result of that. The festival will be held at the Willow Point Hall. The show is 19+, tickets are $28 at the door and there will be a cash bar. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the first band starts at 8 p.m.
There will be some local talent in the lineup, with Gibby Nik and Wood’s personal project Jim Legacy.
“I kind of joked that he’s kind of like the rain man of cover songs,” Wood said about Nik. “His own his his solo stuff is so good. And like I want him to show Campbell River that he’s more than just the cover songs.”
Also on the bill are Nanaimo-based punk band The Daisy Stranglers, who Wood describes as “a shit kicking punk rock band.”
Finally is Moths and Locusts, a band that Wood struggled to describe.
“They’re unbelievable live,” he said. “They’re psychedelic, a lot of their songs are about the cosmos and space … Any band that can work in some lead flute solos is just unbelievable … They’re metal. They’re rock. They’re punk. Some spoken word. So it’s all over the map.”
Wood will also be doing a DJ set as DJ Hardwood.
He’s hoping this is the first of many similar events, and wants to get a lot more local acts on the bill.
“There’s a lot of talented people writing here,” he said. “The beauty of indie music is that nobody’s doing it for the money. It’s for the love of the music.”
Wood acknowledges that there is some good work being done to bring live music back to Campbell River. He hopes to be able to carve out a little niche for music that is “gonna kick you in the teeth with a fuzz solo.”
If the event is a success, Wood hopes to find a venue for a regular Indie night. He’s also got hopes to bring the Green Mountain Music Festival, an event to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis that he used to run when he lived in Nanaimo, to Campbell River.
“I just need to find a venue somebody with a farm hopefully, yeah and have 10 bands. Just kick it for charity.”
More information including Wood’s contact information can be found at www.knockonwoodstudio.com.