Joy District

Recently I was excited because not only was I going to be able to attend a concert to support efforts to #SaveTheWalbran – but I was also going to connect for an interview and photo session with the incomparable Kinnie Starr (More on that in a future post).

Fulford Hall by Jessica Wood
Fulford Community Hall, Salt Spring Island


Instead, hanging around sound check I met Tim.

Tim, Joy District Secret Weapon

Tim is your typical islander. A long-talker. He’s equally quick with a smile, a good tale, a hearty laugh and always has a good dose of teasing at the ready. I liked him immediately. He said he was a driver for one of the bands performing that night: Joy District.

Tim, may drive their bus, but he is really their secret weapon. Less than five minutes of talking to Tim and you HAVE to meet the band. Just to see if he really does drive for musical genius’ with hearts of gold.

So my original plan took a serendipitous turn to my first (and hopefully not my last) interview with brothers Eli and Jordi Hilberry and lifelong friends Lenny Parkin and Keelan Gamble of Joy District.

Having spoken to the band at length over dinner, and listened to them play that night, Tim was right. They’re the real deal. If they keep going like this, Joy District has the potential to be the soundtrack for a new generation.

Joy District on stage 2016 by Jessica WoodThat’s not a bad thing because they’re the kind of Canadian act you root for. Drummer Keelan Gamble spoke highly about not only about volunteering their act to the #SaveTheWalbran Tour, but also of their involvement in the Jellyfish Project. A non-profit organization that uses music, live performance, and learning resources to generate awareness and provide education on ocean sustainability, climate change and environmental stewardship.

“We feel good about being invested in the issues through music. It’s important to have this discussion in high schools. And it’s cool to be able to do something positive with the music. Rather than just play in a bar, we get to connect with hundreds of kids who are so stoked we’re there.”
~Keelan Gamble, Drummer,  Joy District

They really came to the attention of Industry and the public when they entered the Peak’s Performance Project. “Everything we’re doing now is because of that music contest.” The Peak Music Project is designed to launch the careers of up and coming music artist.

They were definitely the underdogs – never having played a show as Joy District and with less than 500 likes on Facebook (Population of Denman Island? 1,016) they made the 2015 top twelve. Now they’ve shared the stage with Mother Mother, Bedouin Soundclash, Head of the Heard, The Boom Booms, and most recently, Kinnie Starr.

Joy District by Jessica Wood IMG_6557-2

They aren’t gong to stop there.  They are the tree planting, socially conscious, grounded island guys who grew up together, and whose talent has been spurned of creative freedom only a rural island town can cultivate.

I’m looking forward to following their careers as they put together and album and refine their songwriting and continue to develop their own sound as well as seeing how they continue to use their music as a way to support important environmental issues.

*For more information on supporting efforts to protect the Walbran Valley, check out Friends of Carmanah Valley: 

Friends of Carmanah / Walbran recognize the Walbran Valley/Kaxi:ks as the traditional territory of the Nuu-cha-nulth peoples . We are a grassroots, 100% volunteer run collective of individuals working to gain protection for these ancient forests and to develop sustainable economic alternatives for local communities.


Joy District on stage by Jessica Wood 2016 Lenny



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