Celebrating their 10th year, the Northern Lights Bluegrass and Old-Time Music Society has big ambitions.
Once deemed a locally focused activity, the Society is now seeking to attract musicians and music lovers from across Canada and even around the globe. Stating their goal as ‘moderate growth’, the Society seeks to make the camp and festival THE Canadian Bluegrass and Old Time destination.
“We’ve always had world class musicians playing and teaching music in a world class setting.” Says Society President Tracy Lalonde. “But I think it’s our humble nature in Saskatchewan to be happy with being the ‘best kept secret.’ We’d like to change that. It’s time to spread the word!”
The Society says that a shift in focus and ambition is not just a marketing statement. They seek to change the structure of the camp and festival activities. With a focus on musicians, music lovers and families, the Society plans to expand activities to include music related workshops, music vendors, more jamming (including special youth and family jams), family-focused activities and camping facilities and special opportunities to engage with the headlining artists on a one-to-one level.
“This isn’t about just saying we’re different. This is about us expanding on our past successes and really trying to make some changes to build Canada’s Bluegrass Festival and Camp.” Says promotion volunteer Mike Klein. “We have the talent, community and unique setting to make this a truly stellar destination festival.”
The challenges of hosting a festival in northern Saskatchewan are not lost on Klein. “Being in northern Saskatchewan is a bit of a drive for our southern neighbours. But, what makes us really unique from other festivals is our site and community. Nestled beside world famous Prince Albert National Park – the home of Grey Owl...how cool is that? – the site offers a truly authentic northern experience. Our name Northern Lights is reflective of what you might see. And, well, Saskatchewan people, they get the spirit of bluegrass and old time. This is truly a supportive and family-friendly place to enjoy music. It will definitely be worth the drive...whether you come from Big River or North Carolina!”
The Society also states that one of the areas that they would like to see growth is in the number of intermediate and established artists signing up to learn at camp. As the camp is taught by the performers at the festival, the Society states that it serves as ‘an opportunity to get up close and personal and learn from some of the best musicians in the industry’. The camp offers classes in banjo, fiddle, mandolin, guitar, upright bass, dobro and harmony singing.
Lalonde states, “Many of the musicians we have teaching at the camp are virtuosos. Musicians of all genres and skill levels are sure to pick up some valuable information. We have classes for beginners, but even if you are an established artist you are sure to take something away!”
The Society plans to announce ticket sales, festival headliners and camp instructors on March 28th 2015.
“All you need is a lawn chair to enjoy our festival. We’ve got the music, food and friends you are looking for! Sit back, relax and enjoy the pickin’ and grinnin’ in the beautiful, peaceful setting of the Northern Boreal Forest.” Says promotion volunteer Jille Magnus.
About the Northern Lights Bluegrass and Old Time Music Society.
The Northern Lights Bluegrass and Old Time Music Society is a non-profit society of members who promote bluegrass and old time music all over Saskatchewan and beyond. In addition to the festival and music camp we keep ourselves busy with old time dances, concerts and jams.
Join the community on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/northernlightsbluegrass