A performer at the 2019 Roots and Blues Festival encouraged people to follow the lead of a group ofyoung Salmon Arm climate change activists.
Luke Wallace has been a touring musician for six years, but started playing gigs when he was 14. His brand of music has been described as new wave political folk music which he uses to inspire audiences into action on social and environmental justice.
Originally from Vancouver Island, the inspiration to write songs focused on protecting B.C.’s coastline came naturally, which in turn jump-started his music career.
“It’s something really near and dear to my heart, so it became an amazing vehicle to just start cruising around and meet other people who really want to protect the Coast and protect the rivers in their area,” Wallace said.
With the 50th anniversary of the legendary Woodstock Festival taking place over the Roots and Blues weekend, activism-focused music was especially poignant. In terms of the way music has been used as a rallying cry over decades, Wallace says not much has changed – only the topic and its severity.
“I think (music) fits in the same way that it has always fit in,” Wallace said. “There’s kind of this inevitability that comes with climate change, different from nuclear war where the concern was over the potential of it.”
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What a trip✌️ @rootsandbluesfestival y’all put together one of the best festivals I’ve ever played or even been to. Major ❤️ to @lovelettersforeverybody for the video, and to @tonyeaganaba @earlyspirit @valdy111 @salmon.j.s @jonahocean for sharing the stage. Collectively we are capable of such enormous amounts of love and joy and music festivals showcase the kindest, most loving sides of humanity. I’m so grateful, and honestly a little confused, that this how it’s playing out right now. Salt Spring and Victoria! See you Wednesday and Thursday for two final band gigs!
Much of Wallace’s music has a dual focus, on the one hand it speaks directly to the concerns of climate change, while on the other it offers a solution in the youth climate-strike movement. Wallace especially noted the efforts made by the Mirella Project, a non-profit organization composed of local youth volunteers with the goal to educate citizens on issues of climate change.
“That’s a fired up group of mostly young women who are just rocking it and are saying it as it is, and I guarantee that needs, or could at least use, a whole bunch of money and a whole bunch of attention and a whole bunch of mentorship and resources,” he said.
This refers to how the Trans Mountain pipeline has often been referred to as in the national interest of Canada by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Wallace will be recording his newest album in September and hopes to continue working with climate change activists. As a musician, he hopes to return to Salmon Arm one day and be featured as a headliner for the Roots and Blues Festival.