By Haley Grinder
Special to the Pioneer

On Saturday, July 31, Brett Kissel, Canadian-born country music star, and Brett Wilson, philanthropist and entrepreneur, teamed up for the second time to co-host an outdoor boat concert at Baltac boat launch. 

Though the concert was kept secret until last Thursday, it still managed to bring in thousands of attendees, all floating in to the Baltac boat launch by means of motorboat, canoe, standup paddleboard, or rubber dinghy. The event was free, however, it relies heavily on donations that all go back into the community.

Pete Bourke, Executive Director of the Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce, also stresses the importance of bringing the community together. “This event is meaningful. It bridges our regular visitors and permanent residents. It’s powerful when the whole community comes together,” he says.

Kissel says, “We had no expectations last year. There was a risk that by doing the event again, it won’t meet expectations. But by the third song, it was clear there was double the crowd and triple the energy compared to last year.”

Kissel even performed his new song, “Boat on the Water,” at the event— a number he wrote earlier in the day. 

“I got shades of my face just cost a dollar

Everybody’s heads bouncing like a bobber

To a good time vibe best party of summer

Got a drink in my hand and a boat on the water”

~Lyrics to Brett Kissel’s new song, “Boat on the Water”

The event was wildly successful last year, with over $130,000 raised for the Columbia Valley Foundation. Caitlin Hall-Sharp, the Executive Director of Columbia Valley Community Foundation, says that donations are directed differently this time around, with the focus shifting from COVID-19 relief to improving adolescent and youth mental health. 

“Putting effort and focus into youth will help them along and guide and facilitate a great future for them as well,” says Al Miller, mayor of the District of Invermere. Miller believes the event to be important to reignite the valley’s sense of community, especially in such a safe and unique manner. 

Hall-Sharp says they anticipated 3,000-4,000 attendees, compared to the 2,500-3,000 of last year.

At 9:30 p.m., Kissel belted out the national anthem with the crowd. At that point, there was $61,000 raised. Wilson’s personal fundraising target is over $100,000. 

Donations can still be made in the coming weeks to