Lille Gard – a different kind of music festival

oook founder Katie Brennan sat down with Nico Boesten, who is involved in the Tribehouse Collective based in Kelowna to learn more about Lille Gard, a grass roots music festival,  and the Tribehouse Collective.

oook: How did Lille Gard come about?

Nico: Well, Andrew & Tami Smith ( & Dean Clark came up with the idea to do something on their property last year to celebrate the artistic collective that has been brewing here in the Okanagan. Dean (who was doing the booking for the Kelowna Folk Club) and Andrew Smith (who has been touring for years & been a part of several artist collectives) pulled in Sheri McConnell (a very savvy promoter, manager, organizer woman) to help with the planning and made it happen. A larger team came together to pitch in and BOOM, there was Lille Gard. Andrew invited about 25 artists to come and play for free during the Canada Day weekend and they ALL said “yup, we’re there”.

oook: What is different about it than other music festivals?

Nico: The first thing is that everything is free. When we say grassroots, we mean grassroots. There was no operating budget, everyone volunteered and played for free, the musicians came together to help build the stage, and several people kicked in donations to help pay for sound & portapotty rentals. The vibe was super cool. It was one big family-friendly party complete with people camping out (in tents & RVs) and a free Crepe breakfast on Sunday morning where 100 people showed up to eat BBQ-baked pancakes. Not to mention an unbelievable mix of music from folk to rock, to funk, to blues. Killer.

oook: What do you hope Lille Gard will foster amongst musicians and music lovers?

Nico: This is all about community. It’s about bringing people together and (finally) not being focused on making money. Instead, it’s asking people “Hey, what are you wanting to bring to the table…what do you want to contribute” as opposed to just charging everyone 8 bucks for a bottle of water with no refunds if it rains. You get the drift.

oook: What is Tribehouse?

Nico: This is a loaded question and the answer is sure to evolve as more people become involved. Our concept (so far) is that we are an artist collective interested in creating a culture of collaboration and conversation about the mystery of faith, arts, and social justice.

As a collective, we value quality art of all disciplines, collaboration rather than competition, and the development of integrity as artists. Our goal is to cultivate a culture of grassroots creativity that uses the arts to not only make a social justice impact but also facilitate a conversation about the mystery of how faith, arts and justice collide. With a large emphasis on supporting independent artists of all kinds through events in the virtual & non-virtual world, we are intentional about working to support each other in our projects as well as sharing our resources for the greater good of the community.

In short, we want to be a part of creating art that matters but in all honesty, we don’t really know what this will look like since the result of what this becomes is completely dependent on what kinds of thoughts and ideas are brought to the collective.

It’s not about selling or marketing something, it’s more about creating a platform for creative people to thrive and make a difference on this earth as vague and huge as that may sound.


oook: What has Tribehouse been up to lately?

Nico: For the past couple of months, we’ve been conversing with the local (non-virtual) community around town at events like the Songwriter Circle, Katalyst (featuring various types of artists where they speak about their craft), and Lille Gard but our virtual community has been on Facebook where we’ve been doing things like inviting artists to post videos of themselves doing a cover song of a particular artist. The last 2 we did were the Johnny Cash Bash & the Shabby Road Beatles Bash where about 50 artists from all around the world put their one-mic, one-take version of their cover tune online. We’ve also just started a Blideo series (video blog) called Tribehouse Art Leaks where we interview different artists and give them a chance to share their philosophies, background, and tips on how they have become successful and hear what matters to them as artists.

One of the other big pieces to this whole concept is that we’re about 84% finished with construction on an artist retreat center / hotel / recording studio which will be able to host conferences, creative gatherings, corporate events, and record music with some really unique (and amazing) gear. Tons of opportunities there since the big room will hold 200+ people and have 10 hotel-style rooms but there is talk of having artist residences as well. The use for the space is also a little flexible. This is being built up in East Kelowna & there will be more info on this posted on our site we’re just building at

As you can tell, this whole concept is very experimental and in a not-even-infant stage but it’s rad to be a part of building something that will both inspire and help (in practical ways) the artist community.

We’re also closely connected in with the Streaming Cafe ( which has been an incredible and innovative tool for artists where their live show is streamed online so they can interact with their fans along with having some high quality video they can use for promotion after their show.

So, what is Tribehouse? That’s part of it…(haha). We’d love to hear what your ideas are…


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