On September 6, 2012 the Okanagan music community and music fans rallied for a cause. That cause was to help Floyd Vedan after being assaulted and receiving a life threatening head injury.
Just six weeks after being admitted to ICU at the Kelowna General Hospital, Floyd attended FloydFest, a fundraiser in his honour, put together to help him pay the bills while he goes through months of therapy.
Organizers Jimmy LeGuiloux, Mark Greenhalgh, Paul Sexsmith, Bernadette Johnston, and Brad Krauza pulled off an amazing feat gathering musicians, techs, and silent auction items for the night. When all was said and done, approximately 700 people attended FloydFest and donated over $10,000 to the cause.
"Putting on an event such as this is easy when you have organizers like Jim, Mark, Paul and Bernadette," said Krauza. "Floyd has touched many hearts out there. We are all so happy he is on a good path to recovery. He still has a ways to go but we feel with the money raised for him, he can at least have one less thing to worry about."
The evening started in the lobby with performances by the Zamboni Brothers and Andrew and Zach Smith. Once guests had placed their silent auction bids and filled up on liquid refreshment, they filed into the theatre to enjoy a night of music like never before.
Emcee Tim Allen of Power 104 (and the great support staff behind the scenes) kept everything rolling smoothly with a new act on stage every 20 minutes. The line up included: Just about Janis, Gary Turlock, Ten2Nine, Jane and Gord, Fields of Green, Theresa Bishop, The Flu, Leah West, and the Cruzeros. Then it was time to bring out the man of the hour.
Floyd took the stage and it was obvious he was humbled to be the recipient of so much love. After many cheers, lots of hugs, and a gift of a signed Luango jersey and photo from West Coast Authentic, he spoke to the crowd.
"I lost 17 lbs in the hospital," he quipped. "The food was fantastic!" He also made comment that both he and the Kelowna Community Theatre were turning 50 that year. All joking aside, he thanked everyone from nurses to soundmen for their help is his recovery and for putting on the event, especially his favourite nurse, Shirley. Then he blew everyone a kiss and sat front and centre to watch the last act.
Darby Mills, and her impromptu band of Brad Krauza on bass, Steve Butler on drums, and Jimmy LeGuilloux on guitar, turned it up a notch with Nazareth's Razmanaz. The group entertained the crowd with Jamie's Cryin', Hair of the Dog, and Barracuda before launching into Don't it Make you Feel. They brought it down a notch with Brother Louie as Darby's signature voice washed over the crowd. Not one to leave anyone wanting for more, Darby and her crew finished up the night with Turn it Loud. Although the four-some had only rehearsed twice the night before, the performance was spectacular and brought the crowd, including Floyd, to their feet.
An after party was held over at Rose's Pub with Floyd's band and several other musicians joining in to jam. A successful night by anyone's standards.
Darby recalls what went through her mind when she was first asked to perform at FloydFest. " When I agreed to do it, we didn't know the outcome and it was just me saying, goodness, if that had ever happened to me, I would appreciate anyone's help to get my feet back on the ground," she said. "I'm sure everybody feels the same way as I do about this. To be able to help a fellow musician in this situation by doing what we do for a living to bring some money in for him… what a great feeling."
As a self-employed musician, Floyd doesn't have a company plan to fall back on when he's not working.
"People jumped to get on board for this thing because there is no safety net as a musician unless you have a day job," said Darby. "I left school and became a full time musician working six days a week four weeks a month and even then, it was tough. You were lucky to make $200 a week. That type of stuff doesn't exist anymore, which makes it even harder to be a full time musician. Those of us who make a living in this industry might be two percent. Everybody else is scratching the surface and gets by. It's a tough road and I really think that is a good reason for musicians to come together. It's a wonderful and terrible business all at the same time. I am thankful I've had a wonderful run at it."
Floyd himself was blown away by the event. "It is overwhelming, honestly. It's incredible. I am honoured to have friends like this. The amount of work that went into this and the people that volunteered to do this… it's amazing. I am so thankful to have people like this in my life."
He also made note that two bands got back together, the Cruzeros and Ten2Nine just for this event. Rumour has it the Cruzeros may even play a few more gigs, they liked it so much.
Floyd recently got on stage to perform for Parks Alive at Kerry Park. "I played for an hour and a half and it was scary," he said. "I didn't know if I could pull it off. It was nice to play my guitar again in a live setting and it felt comfortable but it was scary at the same time, trying to remember lyrics and all that."
There's still a lot of rehab and therapy to go through; however, Floyd is thankful that he's up and walking. "As far as my head injury goes there is lots of therapy I have to go through for that. The bone is in my brain, I am not sure if they will try and take it out. They are just checking to see how I do with it still there, either way it's dangerous."
He also had a long list of people he wanted to acknowledge. "Jimmy and I have been friends for years and Paul and I used to play together," he said "I've known Brad for a long time too. I'm thankful to everyone that volunteered. Then there's Darby, Canada's best female singer ever."
Floyd also wants everyone at the Kelowna General Hospital to know how much they mean to him. "I am honoured to work in a city with a staff like they have at KGH. I am so lucky to live in a city with a hospital like KGH. The people I've met that are going through rehab are doing wonderful things in there," he said. "The rehab ward was awesome. There are people recovering from illness and amputation. The way they handle their injuries and ailments is very inspiring."
It appears Floyd has become an inspiration as well and we wish him all the best on his road to complete recovery.
Floydfest Special Thanks to the Entertainers:
Andrew and Zach Smith
Just about Janis
Jane and Gord
Fields of Green
Stage manager: Mark Greenhalgh
FOH Engineer: John Adams
Monitor Engineer: Terrence Smith
Wrangler: Renata T. Mills
Stage patch: Todd Cargo
Stage Backline/Lobby acts: Jimmy LeGuiloux
Silent Auction: Paul Sexsmith & Bernadette Johnson
Video/ Roses PA: Christoph Meyer
Video Camera: Kimbo Ritchey
Photographers: Lew MacDonald and Shaun Bos Photography
Back door/ passes: Bernard McShelvey, Charlie Hodge
Lighting director: Glen
Emcee: Tim Allen
Thanks to: Roses for sponsoring venue, green room, after show party! Christoph (Rose's production), Stage Crew, John, house techs, backstage crew, lobby entertainment, Okanagan photo booth, Wentworth music (Backline), Randy and Roland from KCT, James Eubanks (Posters), and Jack Phillipon (Rose's stage host).