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Pop rock band Hey Ocean! to dive into Folk on the Rocks
Vancouver band evokes thoughts of summer fun

Simon Whitehouse
Northern News Services

SOMBA K'E/YELLOWKNIFE
The indie-folk-pop rock band Hey Ocean! will be rolling into Folk on the Rocks later this month and, in many ways, their performance will be as much an opportunity for them to learn about Yellowknife as it is for music lovers to learn about them.

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The Vancouver band Hey Ocean! will be playing the main stage at Folk on the Rocks, Saturday night at 11 p.m. -

The three core members of the band Ashleigh Ball, lead singer and flautist; David Beckingham, lead guitar and vocals; and David Vertesi, bass guitar and vocals have been playing together for the better part of the last decade and were nominated for a Juno in 2013 for breakthrough artist.

The Vancouver-based band will be playing during the Saturday 11 p.m. slot when festival organizers hope audience members will be up and dancing before leaving.

"I don't know if your festival is a traditional folk festival or whether that is just the name in general, but we are not super folky and we didn't come from acoustic routes," said a bubbly Ball in an interview from a Chicago coffee shop earlier this month. "We started off playing guitar and vocals and singing around campfires and that kind of thing.

"It is a combination of a bunch of things, but essentially we are writing pop tunes,"

It should come as no surprise that with a name like Hey Ocean!, equipped with a very catchy single called Big Blue Wave, that they are big fans of the water.

"I am a big swimmer and we are all kind of into water activities," said Ball. "So if it is hot out, maybe we can do some of that."

The band was in the Windy City, from which they spoke to Yellowknifer, as part of their efforts to break into the American market. The band will be playing in Scranton, Pittsburgh, Charlotte and Milwaukee in July alone.

They also played Canada Day in Victoria at the legislative building and will be featured at a number of festivals throughout Canada this summer, including Smithers, B.C. for the Midsummer Music Festival and North Bay, Ont. for Summer in the Park.

Ball admits her Vancouver-based band knows almost nothing about Yellowknife, but has been to Whitehorse and is looking forward to being reconnected with the midnight sun. She said her band was approached by the folk festival organizers and has heard positive things through her friends Said the Whale, a highlight at last year's event.

"Our friends Said the Whale was up there last year and they said it was amazing and they said they had a great time," she said. "But I am just looking forward to getting to places we have never seen before. We love travelling and are pretty big on going to new places and excited to see somewhere new."

Festival director Penny Ruvinsky said the band comes with a lot of promise, and should bring a western Canada feel that appeals to people who enjoyed Said the Whale last year.

"Hey Ocean! felt like it worked there because some of the lineup is very mellow, while some is very bluesy, and some is back-porch music, particularly The Crooked Brothers," she said. "Hey Ocean! fit into that quite mellow yet really appealing to a younger audience, which is why we have them on the main stage Saturday night."

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