History of Where the Rivers Meet Country-Bluegrass Jamboree
How it started and things from waaaay back when!
WHERE THE RIVERS MEET COUNTRY BLUEGRASS JAMBOREE: A BRIEF HISTORY
2023 marks the 23rd Jamboree held in Quesnel. Had it not been for covid, this year’s festival would technically be number 26. Do you not wonder if the founding fathers planning this event ever thought it would last this long and still be well received? Festivals and jamborees have come and gone over the years. Quesnel’s is still strong, thanks to dedicated volunteers and supportive community sponsors. So much has changed over the years, and yet, it still remains the same in many ways. Good music, a fabulous venue, affordable weekend passes and good times.
There have been five presidents over the years: RJ Proulx, Peter Couldwell, Neil Huntsley, Ken Knoke and Elodianne Browning. When RJ was president, things were so much more straightforward. The schedules and notes were handwritten at his kitchen table, not a computer or cell phone in sight. The first program was one sheet of paper made by Connie Goulet and the Metis Society. Today thanks to Bob Michek, South Hill Graphics, a souvenir booklet is printed each year.
The Jamboree, in the beginning, was intent on helping the Senior’s Centre pay down the mortgage on their building. To that extent, a portion of the revenue from each Jamboree was donated to the Senior’s Society till this was accomplished. The Jamboree flourished under the umbrella of the Senior’s Society until they branched out on their own and formed their own Society.
The mission from the start was to provide scholarships for up-and-coming young musicians to pursue their musical talent. With most of the Jamboree’s intent being based on young people, fellow musician Arlene Loxterkamp stepped up and donated an Emerald Fiddle one year. It was presented to Shania Boichat. Since then, a musical instrument has been given to a deserving youngster each year. The youngster who would like to receive the instrument has to fill out a questionnaire, and the winner is selected by a committee. The instrument is then presented to the youngster during the Jamboree. Many young people have benefited from our scholarships, and the Society wishes to continue this practice in the upcoming years.
A great many bands have graced the stage over the years, some with memorable names like Uncle Elmer and the Hayseeds, Good News Band, Bluegrass Connection, Farmer’s Wives, Evergreen Drifters, Vintage Wine, South Wind, Dizzy Strings, Isabelle Marie, Lakeside Ramblers and the list goes on. Sadly many of these fine musicians are no longer with us, but their memory will always live on.
In 2000 Garth and Susan Pelkey painted a beautiful backdrop with the help of two Quesnel Secondary Students, Graeme Jones and Yvonne Ethier. This backdrop is still the signature sign of the Jamboree. A song honouring the Jamboree was written by Donna Christiansen, and Dave Anderson called “Where The River’s Meet,” and this is the theme song for the Jamboree.
Sponsors have been a considerable mainstay, and the community spirit is strong and giving. Some of the sponsors have been with the Jamboree since the beginning, and everyone is so grateful to them.
When Peter Couldwell was president, he always said, “If we have enough money in the kitty to start next year, give them good music, present it right and a friendly atmosphere, they will return again and again” We hope we are living up to your expectations, Peter.
On site RV parking is available with security
- Billy Barker Casino Hotel 308 McLean Street 250 992 5533
Within walking distance of the Senior Centre (beautiful hotel about a block away)
- QUALITY INN 753 Front Street 250 992 7247 or 1 800 663 8090
Approximately 10 blocks from Senior Centre
- SANDMAN HOTEL 940 Chew Road 250 747 3511
Not within walking distance from Senior Centre, The Sandman Hotel is about six km away.
Grace Inn (across the street) and Ramada Inn (three blocks from the Jamboree).
Tickets will be available at Circle S Western Wear at 250 992 2811. Advance tickets are $30, then $35 at the door. For out-of-town advance tickets or further advance ticket information, you may contact
Ken Knoke 250 992 5696 or email KennethLK@shaw.ca
Ken Knoke 250 992 5696
Ken Taylor 250 747 8646
Judy Skerratt 250 992 6347