The Labour Day weekend is shaping up to be a busy time in Merritt and it all begins Friday night with local group the Doug James Band performing in Spirit Square.

Founded by its namesake, Doug James, the local group has been active for roughly fifteen years, around the same time when James arrived in Merritt.

“I’ve been in and out of music for a lot of years,” he said. “I used to visit the Say So culture club, downtown. I met a couple of guys, we jammed and pretty soon we had a band together.”

Although it may seem pretty straightforward, the name of the band has a more meaningful origin.

“I had a band with my brother when I was twelve,” said the 40 year rock vocalist. “It was called Doug and James after me and my brother, James. That is how the current band name came about.”

The title of ‘Doug James Band’ was used in many groups. even before James moved to Merritt. Prior to becoming a Nicola Valley local, James played in a Lower Mainland band of the same name, back in the late seventies.

The first version of the Merritt band didn’t last long but the current one has been together for about eight years, playing both in and out of the city, in places like Kelowna, Kamloops, and Osoyoos.

The band plays Classic Rock, with influences from acts like Lover Boy and Ozzy Osbourne.

“The first time I saw the Beatles when I was a kid made me fall in love with rock music,” James recalled. “After watching them i told myself that I wanted to do that too.”

The band loves playing locally, performing sets in events such as Music in the Park and Merritt Crown.

“The Doug James Band are local guys and I really wanted to promote local acts as much as possible.” said volunteer organizer, Ellen Miller. “Doug James is my neighbour and I’ve been to several of their functions.”

The band’s set to play in Spirit Square on Friday, September 2, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. James said that their set will be about 35 songs, all covers of Classic Rock songs from the likes of Van Halen, Bad Company, and many more.

“I really like the opportunity to play in Merritt for community events,” he said. “It’s a chance for us to put in our best performance.”