The Western Family Stringband are a collective of musicians from the Canadian West coast playing old time, bluegrass and original folk songs. We also throw a mean square dance party!
The Western Family Stringband?
Hi there and welcome to our website! Let us tell you a bit about ourselves.
Who Are We?
We're the Western Family String Band. We play old time, bluegrass, Canadiana folk, and a few of us can write songs too. Our current band consists of:
Bex Winnick - Fiddle, Dance Calling and Flatfooting, Singer, Songwriter
Tereza Tomek - Guitar, Upright Bass, Singer, Songwriter
Craig Marcuk - Mandolin, Dance Calling and Flatfooting, Singer, Songwriter
Josh Lichti - Banjo, Singer
How Did We Get Started?
Way back in 2014 in Vancouver, a bunch of us started hanging out a lot and jamming together all the time. We all shared a love of the weird and wonderful Old-time community with its fiddles, flatfooting and square dances. We had a suspicion that these art forms would be embraced by new communities if only they were introduced to them. We formed this project with a goal of touring to remote communities, such as tree planting camps, and putting on square dances.
From the beginning we all knew that the band would be shifting its members around and people would naturally come and go as we all chased our own lives around. We saw ourselves as a giant family of like minded musicians from various parts of Canada, united on the West coast to to play string band music together. Thus we called ourselves the Western Family String Band!
The Planting Camp Tour
In the summer of 2017 we set out on a square dance tour! With help from the Northern BC tree planting company, Summit Reforestation, we visited planting camps around BC and Alberta. We started the night with a performance playing a mix of Canadiana folk, bluegrass, and some original songs written by members of the band then ended the show with an epic square dance! It was a unique gig that not many musicians get to experience. Treeplanters are a hardworking, unique and creative bunch and they really enjoyed what we brought. During the planting tour we also performed some side gigs in the Yukon, BC and Alberta, including a stop at The Atlin Arts & Music Festival where we put on two square dances at the Family Stage. It was rewarding experience to bring music, dancing and a lively change of pace to the toils of some of the hardest working forestry folk across BC and Alberta.
Woodstove Festival 2017
We were so grateful to be part of The Woodstove Festival for the second year in a row as we kicked off the friday night in the Masonic Hall with a square dance party. The place was packed and feet were stompin'! Can't wait till next year!
Plans for 2018
We've got big plans for the summer of 2018! In the months of July and August, we are planning to revisit the planting camps and hope to extend our tour to some Northern BC and Alberta Festivals.
What do we offer?
If your interested in booking us for an event or a festival, here is a break down of what we are capable of.
Old-time Square Dance Party (45 min- 90 min):
This is our main event and don't worry, experience is not necessary! Craig Marcuk takes a few minutes to teach these super simple and fun dances while the band tunes up. When the crowd yells "FIRE IN THE HOLE!" the band kicks off and its a hoedown. Craig calls the moves throughout the whole thing. This is good old time wholesome fun and great for any festival or private event.
Family Square Dance:
Same as our square dance party described above, but for kids!
A full 45 minute performance:
Here is our time when we show off our wealth of old and new tunes from a wide range of genres. If you attend one of our sets you will hear the traditional styles of bluegrass and old time Appalachia. We also like to focus on contemporary Canadian folk songs written by members of the band and friends from the Canadian folk music community. This can be offered in addition to the square dance party.
Flatfoot Dancing (Clogging) Workshop:
Bex Winnick gets your toes tappin' and your calories burnin' with a workshop that focuses on the fundamentals of traditional Appalachian flatfoot dancing. At the end of this workshop you will know the basic steps to this old style of percussive dancing and get to try them out with a live band.
Everyone is our band is quite a character with plenty of experience hosting festival stages. Josh Lichti is an aspiring comedian who performs at events and has hosted stages at various festivals and events.