Not too loud for folkies

Red Deer rockers Oldbury initially feared they weren’t “folk” enough for the Central Music Festival.

City rock group Oldbury can most often be found hanging around in bars

Red Deer rockers Oldbury initially feared they weren’t “folk” enough for the Central Music Festival.

But the enthusiastic bar band still characteristically put its pedal to the metal during a Battle of the Bands contest last spring and beat out 21 other contenders to earn a chance to perform at the outdoor festival.

The five members of Oldbury have since discovered the family-oriented Central Music Festival is actually much more than a forum for folkies.

The third annual event, which runs north of Red Deer on Friday and Saturday, Aug. 14 and 15, will also offer up a diverse selection of rock, country, blues, jazz and world music. Among the many acts is country crooner Dick Damron, who closes Saturday’s concert lineup, and Edmonton’s jazzy Amos Garrett Trio, playing Friday.

Lead singer Josh Baynes, said he’s excited that Oldbury is opening Saturday’s festival lineup, because that will mean reaching a whole new (non-bar) audience.

“I know we work really hard to put a pile of feeling and honesty in our music,” added Baynes, who believes fans, regardless of the venue, will react to his band’s genuine passion for performing. “The No. 1 thing people like about us is our energy. We were also told we had an original style,” said Baynes, who describes it as “eclectic rock, or maybe upbeat party rock.”

The singer, who collaborated with the Oldbury musicians on songs about world overpopulation and vengeful kharma on the band’s debut album, Too Many Late Nights, said he enjoys interacting with crowds during concerts — not just standing passively behind a mic. “We like making the audience part of our circle of friends.”

Oldbury was formed in Red Deer about five years ago by three pals who’d previously played together in another band called Random Task in their hometown of Whitecourt. After Baynes returned from teaching English in China, he got musically reconnected with bassist Craig Olsen and guitarist Darren Smith. The three, who were all living in Red Deer, soon brought drummer Jeff Talbot and additional guitarist Duane Hay on board.

They called their new band Oldbury, after an Oriole Park street where most of the members resided.

The group has since built a fan base, performing countless times in Red Deer and area — as well as Calgary and Edmonton, which are the next focus for the group career ambitions.

Baynes, who still has a day job as a software training developer, said he’d love to tour nationally, or even internationally, with the band some day.

The singer, who’s already travelled extensively to Africa, Australia, South America, Europe and Asia, believes he has a different view of life because he’s seen things like 10-year-old boys carrying guns in Zimbabwe and the effects of overpopulation in China.

“I have no problem paying my cellphone bill because I know how lucky I am to have the things I have.”

Oldbury will perform at about 11 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 15, at the Central Music Festival, just north of Red Deer and off the C&E Trail. (More complete directions are on the website: www.centralmusicfest.com)

A two-day festival pass is $55 ($45 for students and seniors), a one-day pass is $40 for any age (kids are free when accompanied by a paying adult) from the Black Knight Ticket Centre or Valhalla Pure Outfitters.

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com

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