Regina Drum Festival
by Rebecca Windjack
March 1, 2016 in Industry Profile
Accomplished drummer/percussionist/vocalist Jayson Brinkworth is no stranger to the prairie music scene. Jayson has been writing, playing, recording and teaching for over 23 years, and has been a devoted ambassador for the drumming and percussion community in Regina and Saskatchewan.
Since 2006, Brinkworth has been coordinating educational events, and providing local drummers with extraordinary opportunities to connect with and learn from world-class players from a wide array of genres and experiences, and in 2011 a comprehensive 2-day drumming event was launched, officially marking the first annual Regina Drum Festival. “There was a kick-off night with many local players, a tradeshow, and our headliner day with Shawn Pelton (New York - Saturday Night Live, Sheryl Crow) and Chris McHugh (Nashville - Keith Urban, Nashville Studios).”
Since its debut, the Regina Drum Festival has grown into an established annual affair that continues to grow and adapt to the ever-evolving industry. Master classes, tradeshow exhibitors, product and gear providers, and many respected names in the music industry have been introduced to Saskatchewan, making it a vital part of the global drumming community.
In 2015, Brinkworth says the intent was to take a hiatus, stating, “After the 2014 event, I needed to take a break from the festival as it was a lot of work, planning, organizing and financing for one person. The plan was to put the event on hold in 2015 and concentrate my energy on my other ventures. The plan was also to figure out what the festival needed to be and how it had to fit into the industry and Saskatchewan.”
However, due to the success of the first four years, there was undeniable demand for the event to return. “In September (2014) I was getting a lot of questions from drummers all over Canada about the festival. The more I thought about it, the more I realized there has been something built here that just can’t go away for a year, so I had to figure out a way to provide the most inspiration and motivation to the students and musicians of Saskatchewan. Timing was a huge part of this (no drumming pun intended!), but schedules aligned to get some real amazing players to Regina for these events.”
The 5th annual Regina Drum Festival saw the event transition from a 3-day weekend to a comprehensive educational series spread out over 11 days in October. This provided more flexibility in scheduling and booking some of the best players and teachers for the festival, including Brent Fitz (Slash, Alice Cooper), Rich Redmond (Jason Aldean, Nashville Studios), Cory Churko (Shania Twain, Kelly Clarkson) Flo Mounier (Cryptopsy), and Larnell Lewis (Snarky Puppy). The festival also featured local players who are actively progressing the percussion scene in Saskatchewan such as Ross Bart, Chris Dimas, Brent Rogers, and Brinkworth himself.
“This year was varied, with Q&A events, clinics and performances, drums and guitar, all styles of playing and so much more. The attendees really took away an understanding of new techniques on their instrument,” Jayson notes, adding “By opening it up as an Education Series, we can have events happen throughout the year and keep the inspiration and motivation flowing all year long.”
Brinkworth suggests he has a few tricks up his sleeve to continue the growth and relevance of the festival in upcoming years. He concludes, “The future of the event is in the hands of the attendees, musicians, students and music lovers. If they keep attending, I will keep pouring my energy into the event and bringing the best players in the world to Regina. We will definitely be on the world map as a place to go for world-class music education events.”
For more information, visit www.jaysonbrinkworth.com. Brinkworth also runs the Stickman Drum Experience near Saskatoon SK; 2016 dates have just been announced, June 29-July 3
Photo courtesy Jayson Brinkworth.