The atmosphere was charged as the band Sloan hit the stage at Tinhorn Creek’s amphitheater, Saturday, Sept 8th, to close out the concert season at this venerable South Okanagan winery. The warm dry weather could not have been more perfect, the painted backdrop of the valley more idyllic. All we needed was a bag of food from the store and a bottle of Cab Franc from the wine table and we were set for a terrific evening.
Arriving minutes before showtime, we parked on a lower road and were vanned up by Tinhorn’s friendly winery workers. Inside the amphitheater, the grassy steppes were crammed with oldsters, youngsters and families, so we sat on the grassy hilltop stage right, next to the grapevines and precariously close to the edge of a slope so steep some children were sliding down it. There, in the gathering twilight, the roast chicken and yam salad tasted perfect with the fruity Tinhorn Cabernet Franc as we three agreed, this is really fun.
For the last few years, Tinhorn has focused on the presentation of “up and coming Canadian bands,” but although Sloan is Canadian, they are hardly new. Their first EP, Peppermint, was released in 1992. Not being a Sloan follower, I can attest that they sounded solid and upbeat, and I even recognized a couple songs. Judging from the crowd’s response, we were among only a few non-fans in attendance.
Soon into the first set, a small group of women started dancing on the grass in front of the stage. One of them was winemaker Sandra Oldfield, who alternated her look that night with a green glowstick wig. She danced the entire first set, joined at times by her husband and partner, Kenn. Nearby, their daughter Melody was taking other kids on sleigh rides down the slope. A real family scene, this.
The dance lawn filled and become quite boisterous. One girl danced so fast and jumped so hard, her breasts literally fell out of her low cut dress, and at some point she gave up trying to restrain them. But she didn’t stop head banging. So when the song ended, it was hard to tell if the audience was applauding the band’s performance – or hers.
The second set saw a surge of bodies to the stage as the musicians alternated instruments and even invited a young girl to dance between the guitar players. Quite a scene to enjoy while nibbling on Lindt chili pepper chocolate that we washed down with Tinhorn’s crisp Pinot Gris, causing a piquant dance of our taste buds.
Two bottles later, the show ended after an extended encore. The crowd was still lively and we were chatting up our neighbors when one of our bags rolled off the edge of our little hill. I reached for it, lost my balance and slid down the entire length until falling to rest against a group of people on one of the steppes below. This move earned me hearty applause from the grapevine section, which I accepted with appropriate embellishment. I wondered how many times this has happened before.
I also decided this is something we really ought to do again, especially now that we’ve purchased an investment property in Oliver that we’ll need to come and visit. Tinhorn Creek concerts are scheduled monthly, so next year we’ll plan ahead, and maybe we’ll reserve a table at Miradoro, the winery restaurant overlooking the amphitheater. That way, I’ll have no chance of rolling down the hill.
More about Okanagan wineries coming up soon, so stay tuned and please share this story with your friends. Cheers!