Kelowna Daily Courier

Some laughs, fringe, and wine

ANNA JACYSZYN Anna Jacyszyn is an award-winning jazz singer. Email:

As summer winds down, the festival season gears up with comedy, fringe and wine!

Although the events are paired down to avoid any kind of fifth COVID wave, event organizers are trying to give us chances to be entertained and informed, as well as to give us a break from reality that I welcome and thank these coordinators who tirelessly work to rekindle our passions for arts of all genres.


The Okanagan Comedy Festival begins tonight from Aug. 25-29. This festival spans several venues with a dozen or so comedians on the playbill. Originally the schedule lineup had more than two dozen comedians to stand up and make us chuckle. But with schedule changes and a gamut of compliances to the ever-changing rules our government and health organizers are mandated to give, I don’t know the current number… Tonight Carlos O’Bryans in West Kelowna (3470 Carrington Rd.) launches this five-day festival with four top comedians donning the stage from 7 p.m. onwards.

Rob Balsdon is the founder of the Train Wreck Comedy in Kelowna. His show is based on quick wit and brutal honesty, packaged in a likeable innocence.

Dale Ward will give ticket holders the ridiculous and the strange with one-liners, odd observations, and high-energy.

Lars Callieou can be seen in person, as he is getting much air time at present as a regular on CBC’s ‘The Debaters’ and on The Comedy Network.

To top it all off is Big Daddy Taz, who is best described as equal parts comedian and motivator. He prefers to enlighten, educate, and inspire rather than the usual opposite.

Advance tickets are $20 per seat, plus service fees through, or call the festival office at 1-888-855-8522. Other venues include Rotary Centre for the Arts, Red Rooster Winery, Freddy’s Brew Pub, Gallaghers Canyon Golf Club, and DunnEnzies

Pizza in the Mission area.

The website has bios of the comedians, each evening’s line-ups, ticket purchase links, venue addresses and mask protocols.

Let’s put some much needed laughter in our bellies.


At the beginning of the week I was invited to attend the press launch for Kelowna Fringe Festival, which happens in a few weeks in Kelowna and West Kelowna.

From Sept. 15-19, this festival comes to light with a variety of one-act plays, performances, dances, cabaret, afterhours entertainment, buskers and a Kids Fringe to boot!

The night consisted of 13 out of the 27 variety acts that will perform at various venues throughout the city and in the Okanagan, including Grizzli Winery (West Kelowna), Creekside Theatre (Lake Country), Black Box, and various locations inside the Rotary Centre for the Arts.

From the two-minute promo slots each act was allotted, I know that this will be one of the best since its inception in

2019 as the brainchild of ARTSCO, but now produced by New Vintage Theatre.

I witnessed some tough-love real life monologues about alcoholism and an 18-year-old who gets sober when she discovered her family choices put her in that inevitable spot – being daddy’s little girl! Rock Bottom is a dark comedy written and acted by Carly Fawcett as she shares her demons in funny and thought-provoking ways.

I look forward to seeing The Pink Unicorn, written and shared by Kendra Hesketh a theatre veteran who has had many accolades in writing and directing. Hesketh puts herself in the highheeled shoes of a Texan mother who tells her story of her family, concentrating on her teenaged child who now wants to be identified as him/her and what that means in a Bible-belt community.

Music is also on the agenda with Jessie Rivest who will don the hats of two mega heroes of song – Judy

Garland and Joni Mitchell. These are big names to take on, but will be made so much easier with her amazing band of musicians to include Loni Moger, Stefan Bienz, Scott Gamble and Neville Bowman. The evenings that Bowman is not performing with this tribute band, he will be performing with his musical and personal partner Lyndsey Wong at the Grizzli Winery. This musical duo will have two piano keyboards set up and will either seduce or excite you in the show they are calling “A Musical

Romance. Maybe” for reasons being that the audience will decide each night from a playlist of songs across the genres if there is romance or not! So it’s never the same show. Neville is writing original material that will debut then.

There is such a diverse selection of interesting ideas across the board of talented showmen, that each week leading up to the festival I will be highlighting other acts for your perusal as well as critiquing as many as I can see over the festival dates.

Tickets for each show is $15 plus service fees. And 100% of the revenue goes to the artists.

If you are interested in seeing five or more shows, you may purchase a “Frequent Fringer” pass, which works out to be $13 per ticket.

I urge everyone, whether attending or not, to purchase a Fringe Bear Pin at a cost of $5 because wearing this pin means you are supporting the festival, supporting live innovative ideas of free thought and this money goes into the festival to fund the costs incurred of putting on such a feat! Why the grizzly you ask? Well, Kelowna means “grizzly bear” in nsyilxcən – the language of the local Syilx Okanagan people. The Syilx are the original stewards of the land where the Kelowna Fringe Festival will take place. This was their way of nodding to the history of Kelowna and giving to the community!

Visit for tickets. All attendees must wear a bear pin to stay on site, as well as wearing a mask. It is also mandatory to have at least one vaccination and your card will be asked for proof upon arrival to the venue.


Don’t forget that tonight there is live music ’80s Mix Tape from 6-8 p.m. at the 400 Block of Bernard Avenue.

Saturday night inside Soul De Cuba Café, 101-1180 Sunset Dr., it’s Major Mambo performing from 7-9 p.m. with Patricia Dalgleish, Maggie Q-tip Cotton, Stephen Buck and Trevor Salloum – I recommend you book prior to arrival as this space is small but the music is hot!

For those of you who will be in Vernon on Saturday night, please enjoy a piano recital by conductor and pianist Leslie Dala, who is the music director of the Vancouver Bach Choir, associate conductor and chorus director of Vancouver Opera, and the music director emeritus of the Vancouver Academy of Music Symphony. This concert is held at Trinity United Church, 3300 Alexis Park Dr., and begins at 7:30 p.m.





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