With bands lined up from across Canada and the world, River & Sky Music/Camping Festival opens Thursday at Fishers’ Paradise along the Sturgeon River, east of Sudbury.
“The theme of this year’s festival is inclusivity and community with bands from across Canada and the world,” said Peter Zwarich, festival director. “We’re excited to feature Altin Gun, an Amsterdam based band playing Turkish folk with a 1970s psychedelic-funk twist, Mdou Moctor, a Tuareg band from Niger who has been called the Hendrix of the Sahara, the Texas band Little Mazarn, with dreamy banjo and vocals by Lindsey Verrill, and New York City’s Gladys Lazer, the solo project of Tel Aviv-born drummer Gal Lazer.
“We want everyone to feel at home at R&S whether you are camping out with us over five days or day-tripping to the festival.”
The festival runs until Sunday. Before it’s over, people can dance one last time to Thursday night headliner Hollerado, on its final goodbye tour with its album Retaliation Vacation.
On Friday, headliner US Girls, called the Best Live Band of 2018 and winner of the 2016 Juno for best alternative album, will bring the experimental pop.
Saturday night will get a little intense with punk band and Polaris Prize winner F*cked Up.
And then Sunday, the Fast Romantics, known for their singles Julia and Why We Fight, will close out the festival.
There are bands with regional ties, too, and they include Mod-punk band Tommy & the Commies (Sudbury), singer Annie Sumi (North Bay/Guelph); rock and rollers Dirty Princes (Sudbury/Toronto) who will be releasing their EP Prince of Hearts at R&S; singer-songwriter Oli Palkovits backed by a full band (Sudbury); Indigenous folk-pop singer-songwriter Lisa Marie Naponse (Atikameksheng Anishinawbek); and the punky trio of friends known as Slow Eaters (Sudbury).
Bands hailing from the rest of Canada at R&S, in order of appearance, includes Luna Li (Toronto), Orville Peck (Vancouver), Rapport (Toronto), Little Junior (Toronto), Pottery (Montreal); Munya (Montreal), Jaunt (Toronto); Lover’s Touch (Toronto); Tush (Toronto); Doomsquad’s, Yamantaka Sonic Titan (Montreal), Bad Waitress (Toronto), Paul Jacobs (Montreal), Kristine Schmitt (Toronto), and the Blaze Velluto Collection (Quebec).
Along with plenty of entertainment, local crafters and community organizations will lead a variety of fun, interactive activities throughout the weekend, designed to keep festival-goers on their feet and using their hands.
Workshops encourage attendees to connect with their artistic side and to learn something new while exploring nature. Many of them are also kid-friendly.
“Workshops at River & Sky have been growing over the past couple of years,” Zwarich said. “It’s great to see people engaged in hands-on activities. It’s becoming a key component of our event. So, learn how to make campfires, and slacklines, and canoe, and have a great time.”
Attendees can participate in workshops as live musical performances take place at the same time. Workshops will be available at various times to suit a variety of personal schedules.
River & Sky is into its 11th year and many of its workshops have had a focus on nature and sustainability throughout the years. The festival is a place for crafters and organizations to showcase their talents while teaching new skills to eager attendees.
Some examples of River & Sky’s 2019 workshops include:
– Walking the Line: Slacklining 101: learn the secrets of walking the line with Spencer and Manon from ARC climbing.
– Herbal Medicinal Walk: join Miranda Martel as she teaches the secrets to identifying herbs in nature.
– Embrace your weird: be a dulcimer in a world full of guitars with Luthier Marc-Andre Dubosq from Kapuskasing.
– Super Fun Time Trivia with Koal and Kevin: learn new swear words with hosts Koal and Kevin and win terrible prizes
– Community mural: Faces of River & Sky: Come join in a community creative process to help create this year’s River & Sky masterpiece.
– Hoop & Groove Dance Party: Shannon Falconi from North Bay’s Global Groove will teach easy-to-follow tricks that will be integrated into a fun, energetic dance routine.
– Fire starting workshop: Meg and Jay will teach you the different techniques you can use to start a fire without matches.
– VOX Choir Sesh with Compass Music Academy: Eric and Lindsay will teach the crowd how to sing the popular pop/rock song Dreams by Fleetwood Mac in one hour including all three levels of harmonies.
For more information and tickets, go to www.riverandsky.ca.