The Backyard Story...

How did the festival come to be?

This initiative began in the summer of 2015 when a few friends thought about doing a little house concert to bring some of the community together in their home, and to showcase some local talent.

Sprouting from that idea, they put their heads and talents together and went even further to put together a backyard music festival in Derwent, at the home of 4 men called the Bro-Tel.

 The event featured an impressive lineup of both professional and amateur musicians and opportunities for open-stage performances as well.  Somewhat surprisingly, attendees came from all parts of Alberta and also from out of province!

At the end of the 3-day festival they were saying: “Do it again next year and we’ll be back.”

Mime-Light Theatre Society

Founded in 1978 as a registered non-profit society, Mime-Light Theatre Society has sponsored many seasons of performances and workshops throughout Canada, even beyond the Arctic Circle.  In the Spring of 2016 the Bro-Tel Backyard Festival became a major work of Mime-Light.  This grass-roots initiative had begun in 2015, attracting many volunteers and supporters, and its mandate fit perfectly with Mime-Light’s mission to support culture through the arts.

The chair of the Bro-Tel Backyard Festival committee, Saul Noster, serves on the board of directors of Mime-Light Theatre Society, assuring excellent continuity as the Bro-Tel Backyard Festival takes its place at the heart of Mime-Light Theatre Society’s work.

The Bro-Tel

The Bro-Tel was the home of 4 twenty-somethings who began living together in the fall of 2014.  When the Bro-Tel was formed, Christian, Ezra, Dylan, and Saul decided that it would be a home that was (nearly) always clean and would have an open door policy to all guests. Out of that spirit of hospitality, the Bro-Tel Backyard Festival was born.

The Bro-Tel Festival Committee

Saul Noster

Chair, Producer

Saul was raised on a farm in rural Alberta.  Being homeschooled from K-12, he had the opportunity to freely explore music and creativity in his daily life. His desire is that the Bro-Tel Backyard Festival would bring a greater level of music and visual art to the surrounding community.

Christian Bekolay

Graphic Design Lead

Christian completed his diploma in graphic design in 2012. With that and experience in being a youth coordinator/summer camp director, he acquired training and practical experience which has helped in the production of this festival. Christian's real passion though, is in all the boardgames which no longer fit on his shelves.

Dylan Kwasnycia

Financial Administrator

Dylan is an Electrical Designer. He is currently the committee secretary and takes care of licensing work for the Bro-Tel Backyard Festival. Dylan is one of 4 founding members of The Bro-Tel, located in Derwent, AB. Now married, Dylan resides in Lloydminster, AB, but he continues to be a vital part of the festival and is excited to see the event thrive.

Ezra Noster

Site Manager

Growing up on a family farm, Ezra developed many practical skills in handling machinery and animals.  He has applied his talents to the world of film production and acting, taking particular interest in special effect makeup and stage violence. Ezra has also completed his studies in firearms repairs. Having a plethora of talents, he lends a great hand in helping the festival operate!

Haley Bekolay

Pavilion Manager

Haley Bekolay was born in Cold Lake, AB. Last summer She moved out to little ol' Derwent. Haley enjoys eating sushi, reading a good book, and is passionate about music. She is very excited for the ways that the festival is enriching and enlivening her community.

Thomas Laurence

Performance Director

Thomas Laurence: farmhand by day, piano teacher also by day,  and asleep by night.  Thomas enjoys nothing in this life but the bittersweet consolation of writing music and contributing to this glorious music festival. And a good beer. And the countryside. And friends. And sushi. Ok yes, there's lots of things he enjoys, but few as much as this glorious festival. 

James Martin

Marketing Director

James Martin grew up in BC and moved to Alberta shortly after spending a year travelling Canada putting on events and giving speeches. With James' outgoing nature and comfort in front of a crowd, he became the annual MC for the festival in 2017 and after the 2019 festival, joined the committee as Marketing Director.

Solange Vilcsak

Volunteer Coordinator

Solange Vilcsak was born in Edmonton and currently lives in Sherwood Park. She is a sports and outdoor enthusiast and loves a good book. Solange has volunteered at the Bro-tel Backyard Festival for the past 4 years and is excited to now be a part of it all.

Maggie Bekolay

Stage Design

Maggie has been an active volunteer in the Bro-Tel since it's early days. This year she is taking on the job as stage decorator! 
Maggie has always loved designing and coming up with new and creative ways to make a room look like a beautiful work of art, and is excited for the challenge of sharing her creativity with a wider audience.
She has always had a passion for the Bro-Tel Backyard Festival and has loved watching it grow into the amazing event it is today! She is extremely excited to be joining the team and be helping in a bigger way.

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