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Monday, August 20, 2018

Thousands Flock To Summerfolk In Owen Sound

Owen Sound | by Matt Hermiz  

The folk music and craft festival saw roughly 4,200 people a day.


Summerfolk saw droves of people pack Kelso Beach over the weekend.

Festival Artistic Director James Keelaghan says the 43rd annual event which began Friday and wrapped up last night, attracted about 4,200 people each day.

"We're up over last year (in attendance), and last year we were up over the year before," Keelaghan says.

Keelaghan says the weekend was filled with a number of highlights, including performances by Fred Penner, Tanika Charles, Susan Aglukark and Bahamas.

But, the one that stood out most to the event's artistic director was a Friday night set by Indigenous Artist Bryden Gwiss Kiwenzie, a local talent from Cape Croker.

"What we've been wanting to do with indigenous artists is not to ghettoize them, such as having the opening ceremonies with a drum song," Keelaghan says. "We want to integrate the aboriginal performs into the actual program so it's not ghettoized."

"And the set that Bryden did on Friday night just really brought tears to my eyes," continues Keelaghan. "Explaining pow-wow music to us, explaining what the songs mean, explaining what the dances mean ... he was just stunning."

Often accompanied by rain in past years, Summerfolk enjoyed fairly dry weather throughout the weekend that peaked with an afternoon of sunshine on Sunday to close out the event.

Keelaghan says while the weather was welcome, Summerfolk always enjoys strong support even in years when rain does pour down.

"This festival has a hardcore following that are always there for us, every year, whether it's rain or shine," Keelaghan says. "And they really make the festival happen."


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