Concerts and workshops planned for arts festival

A festival in honour of Summerland writer George Ryga will feature music, readings and workshops.

A festival in honour of Summerland writer George Ryga will feature music, readings and workshops.

The Marginal Arts Festival will be held on the weekend of Sept. 1 to 4.

Ryga, a playwright, lived in Summerland from 1962 until his death in 1987.

Peter Hay, one of the organizers of the festival, said it is important to pay tribute to Ryga and his works.

Ryga’s most famous play, The Ecstasy of Rita Joe, was written in Summerland in 1967. It is the story of an Aboriginal woman living in Vancouver.

“It reads like it was written yesterday,” Hay said of the play. “That’s the power he had as a writer.”

Hay added that through his writings, Ryga was able to speak on behalf of those who were marginalized.

“He gave a voice to those who had no voice,” Hay said.

The arts festival will begin with Outspoken, a coffee house event at the Summerland Waterfront Resort on Thursday, Sept. 1 at 7 p.m.

A tribute to Ryga will be held on Friday, Sept. 2 at 7 p.m. It will include an appearance by Ann Mortifee, whose music is featured in The Ecstasy of Rita Joe.

On Sept. 3, Campbell Ryga and his ensemble will perform at Centre Stage Theatre, beginning at 7 p.m.

Peter Hay, one of the festival organizers, said the jazz concert will be Campbell Ryga’s first performance in Summerland in more than a decade.

Also on Sept. 3, a free concert of Okanagan bands will be held in Memorial Park from noon to 6 p.m. Included in the lineup is Blue City Trio, which features Tom Esson and Sergei Ryga, who started playing music in Summerland 36 years ago.

Tickets for the event are available through EventBrite by visiting http://www.eventbrite.ca/o/marginal-arts-festival-10676305637