Welcome to the Northern Lights
Bluegrass & Old Tyme Music Society
We are a non-profit society of members who do a whole heck of a lot to promote bluegrass and old time music all over Saskatchewan and beyond. We host a big Festival and Music Camp every August and during the year we keep ourselves busy with Old Time Dances, Concerts, Jams, Potlucks and generally too much fun.
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
Did you know we are celebrating our 10 year anniversary? It's a special year and we have some extra special plans. Help us kick off the year by joining us for our lineup launch party and local auditions!! We'll be announcing our amazing main stage acts and we have some super secret surprises planned.
Inbetweener Auditions and Launch Party
Saturday, March 28 from 12:30 - 5 p.m.
Ideas Inc. Building 120 Sonnenschein Way, Saskatoon, SK (Attached to Farmer's Market)
Do you want to perform at the 2015 Northern Lights Bluegrass & Old Tyme Music Festival!?
Sign up for Local Auditions that are being held on March 28th. You will get your chance to not only play on the main stage, in between the headlining acts, but chosen local artists also get a free festival pass, access to the backstage Cantina and all of the amazing jams that happen there. Don't wait too long! The deadline for the application is March 25th.
P.S. Our Music Camp Registrations are opening soon. Last year was a sellout, so be sure to get on the mailing list to be the first to be notified of when registration opens.
Learning to play a musical instrument can sometimes feel like a daunting task. One of the best ways to increase your enjoyment of learning (while also increasing your probability of success) is to seek out quality instruction and support from a community of other learning players. The Shivering Strings West Music Camp provides an opportunity for both.
Happening on January 23-25, 2015 in Saskatoon, Shivering Strings West provides hands-on workshops in fiddle, piano, clawhammer banjo, guitar and even cello! Some of Canada’s top fiddle instructors will be in attendance including Gordon Stobbe (Nova Scotia), Stacey Read (New Brunswick), Karrnel (Ontario), JJ Guy (Saskatoon) and Kim De LaForest (Saskatoon). In addition Daniel Koulack (Winnipeg), Lucas Welsh (Meadow Lake), Eric Wright (Ontario) and Cath Sproule (Saskatoon) will be teaching back-up.
Register today: http://northernlightsbluegrass.ca/shiveringstringswest
Still wondering whether Shivering Strings West is for you? Read about last year’s experience….
Music in the Air: Shivering Strings West
by Diane Reid
Feb 5 2014
If you were walking down Broadway Avenue in Saskatoon on a recent Saturday you might have heard the distant sound of fiddles on the night air. You may have instantly recognized the dance music you grew up with on the prairies, or the tunes your fiddle teacher teaches you.
Or maybe you had no idea what kind of music it was, but you are a fan of the recent revival in folk music and wanted to follow the sound. You found yourself climbing the stairs to St. Joseph's Hall, going through the door, and suddenly you were in the midst of more than 200 happy people of all ages, dancing dances whose names you would soon learn; everything from the waltz to the schottische, the polka to Saskatchewan's own Butterfly and more.
Some of Canada's finest old time dance fiddlers were on stage, brought together by the 4th annual Shivering Strings West Music Camp (SSW). The event, which attracted 70 students, was organized by the Old Time Music committee of the Northern Lights Bluegrass and Old Tyme Music Society. The purpose of the camp, said participant Jaxon Lalonde, 14, “is to get together and learn music together and have a good time.”
Fiddling in Saskatchewan dates back more than 200 years, so it only makes sense that people here are hungry for the music. NLBOTS recognizes this, and when board member Cathy Sproule first attended the original Shivering Strings Music Camp in Nova Scotia she spoke with Gord Stobbe about bringing his weekend camp concept west. A committee began working towards hosting Shivering Strings in Saskatoon.
Their work has paid off. This year 70 students came together to learn many styles of Canadian music in a three day experience – a Friday night jam, two days of instruction, a Saturday night dance and a Sunday afternoon closing concert. In addition to fiddle, the camp offers fiddle accompaniment classes for banjo, guitar, and piano.
SSW attracts top flight instructors, including Canadian Grand Masters Lifetime Achievement Award winner Stobbe and Canadian Folk Music Award winner Karrnnel Sawitsky. Teachers come from as far away as Nova Scotia, and as close as down the street, to participate in a learning experience specific to Shivering Strings.
Said SSW committee member Heather Pocock“What is unique about our camp is that the classes are sorted according to their playing level as usual, but instead of having one instructor [for the camp] the instructors rotate through each class ... everyone gets a chance to learn different tips and styles from them. It's amazing what can be accomplished in such a short time”.
New this year were students from Kim de Laforest's school-based Blazin' Fiddles program. Sponsored by the Saskatoon Fiddle Orchestra, six young people enjoyed lessons from Manitoba's Marcel Harpel. When offered a chance to rest during the weekend, the six declined, saying they wanted to learn as much as possible.
Children were a big part of the weekend, whether dancing at the dance or taking lessons. SSW committee member Paulette Atchison, speaking with warmth and enthusiasm, said that during the dance a group of children made a space for themselves in a corner of the dance floor and tried all the dances that the adults were doing. On Sunday, at the end of the camp, a little girl came up to Atchison and said “This was the best weekend ever of my life”.
Children, teenagers, and adults of all ages had a wonderful time at Shivering Strings West. Rekindling joy in the elders, passing on joy to the youth: the weekend left everyone glowing. And if you were the one hearing the music for the first time, when you left the dance on Saturday night you would have had an image in your mind of pure fun. You would have been humming a tune and breathing deep the unseasonably warm winter air with its promise of spring.
Watch last year's finale!
Register today: http://northernlightsbluegrass.ca/shiveringstringswest