CircusWest’s Grania Bennett perfroms at the 2019 Vancouver Folk Music Festival. CircWest will be a part of this year’s Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival. (CircWest/Facebook)

Join the circus at Salmon Arm festival

Roots and Blues to host CircusWest team as part of family friendly entertainment.

Barb Brouwer


There is no doubt music is the major draw at the Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival.

But over the past few years, festival organizers have been working hard to add more excitement to the overall experience.

Lover of the theatric and physical slapstick, Engage and Play co-ordinator Roxy Roth is drumming up a few new roving performers.

“I invite the child in everyone to try something new, do something interactive, step out of their comfort zone, whether it be in music, dance or play,” says Roth, noting the engage and play projects have become part of the fabric of the festival, which runs Aug. 15 to 18. “We want to enhance the visual landscape, with a wide variety of artists popping up, creating a sense of magic and sparking joy.”

Roth says she is excited by the blend of this year’s artists who hail from the Shuswap and other parts of B.C. and Alberta.

For anyone who has ever dreamt of running away to join a circus, Vancouver’s CircusWest will bring the circus to Salmon Arm on the Saturday and Sunday of the festival, which takes place Aug. 15 to 18.

Described as a one-stop hub for circus arts on the West Coast, the non-profit, registered charity helps children, teens, and adults develop skills in circus arts and performance.

Read more: Former circus performer goes “off grid” near Vernon

Read more: Camping extended to seven days for Roots & Blues

Read more: Salmon Arm strongman training for challenges of Sicamous Strength Fest

CircKids, a talented CircusWest team, will perform aerial shows and roving performances as well as offer circus workshops at the festival.

Once again, giant roving puppets will make their way around the fairgrounds thanks to local performers Jaci Metivier and Peter Grainger of Buttonholes.

Listen to the call of the drums with Edmonton’s Sangea Academy, which will present high-energy Afro Fit workshops in the spirit of West African drum and dance.

School District #83’s A.L. Fortune Drumline, will bring their drums and talent to the festival, performing at the main gate as the festival gets under way Friday, on the MainStage prior to the official 6 p.m. start and at the barn stage and evening Acuity Glow Parade on Saturday.

Begin your weekend festival experience with the Gong Father, who will create sound baths using a variety of gongs and instruments to create soundscapes for relaxation and meditation at the engage stage next to the family fun zone.

A roving duo will perform Capoeira, an Afro-Brazilian martial art that combines elements of dance, acrobatics, and music. Developed by enslaved Africans in Brazil at the beginning of the 16th century, it is known for its acrobatic and complex maneuvers, often involving hands on the ground and inverted kicks.

More volunteers are needed to be part of the Engage Stage and Play Team.

“It’s a good place to bring youth as a place to play and over the last few years, we have had a lot of teens who have moved on to the workforce,” says Roth of many team members who helped children explore with hula hoops, bubbles and poi spinning. “Part of my hope is having an opportunity to give teens a taste of the festival and have that base for future years.”

Anyone interested in helping kids of all ages unleash their inner child, is invited to send an email to


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