There’s magic to be found in Huntsville this summer, a kind of magic that has been in short supply for two years.
It’s the magic of connection – the elusive spark that occurs when an audience and a performer come together in a remarkable space.
“The Huntsville Festival of the Arts is about more than just booking artists,” says executive director Dan Watson. “It’s about creating experiences. Matching the artist and the venue to create something truly wonderful.”
The Huntsville Festival is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year and marking the joyous return to live performances. “A lot has been put on the shelf for the past two years, but we are back stronger than ever,” says Dan.
Some of the Festival’s favourite performers are returning, including Michael Kaeshammer (July 2), Joel Plasket (July 8), the Legendary Downchild Blues Band (July 21), Natalie MacMaster (July 22), and Kathleen Edwards (August 10).
The Festival is also continuing a proud tradition of exploring a wide range of artistic forms. Theatre legend Tomson Highway will present a cabaret performance of songs sung in English and Cree. World class drag queen Tynomi Banks will take over the Algonquin Theatre. Comedian and activist Mary Walsh will spend an evening in conversation with Murdoch Mysteries creator Maureen Jennings.
The Algonquin Theatre downtown offers a superb venue for many shows, but Dan is also excited about some of the other performance spaces being featured this year. The glorious barn at Hillside Farm will be home to concerts by folk artists, as well as the hit More Barn: The Music of Neil Young. Canvas Brewery will host a free evening of Brazilian jazz, and Juno-winning blues artist Crystal Shawanda will perform at the Etwell Concert Series – a beloved outdoor venue some 20 km west of Huntsville.
Not to mention the return of exciting community-spanning events like Nuit Blanche North, a multi-disciplinary event that takes over downtown Huntsville, as well as boat-up movies on the docks, and the Huntsville ART CRAWL studio tour.
In all, the festival has planned 30 events for the summer, ending with Tom Cochrane and Red Rider on September 15.
“It’s going to be a great summer,” says Dan. “It’s good to be back.”
TEXT A. WAGNER-CHAZALON