Weekend music extravaganza June 17-19

Mbira Renaissance performed last year on the Main Stage.
Mbira Renaissance performed last year on the Main Stage.

Chris Clegg
Spotlight

It’s less than three weeks away to what many tout as the best fair in Western Canada.

Thousands will pack the Driftpile Valley for the 38th North Country Fair June 17-19.

The annual fair, which celebrates the summer solstice, actually ends a few hours before the solstice June 20 at 3:35 p.m. The annual fair, which began in 1980, features some of the best blues, folk, bluegrass and children’s classics singers in the world, which keeps everyone returning.

“I’ve said it before; I’ll say it again – North Country Fair is the best music festival, period,” says Con “Fish” Griwkowsky of the Edmonton Sun.

Highlighting this year’s show is a long list of performers including Buffy Sainte Marie, who will be doing a rare solo. Fred Penner, the McGowan Family Band, Downchild Blues Band – who can forget Flip , Flop and Fly? – and many more will be performing non-stop for three days and nights. In fact, the music and celebration never ends.

The fair is much more than great music. Workshops, demonstrations, camping, a plethora of vendors selling merchandise and food, and children’s activities include the festivities.

Public access to the fairgrounds begins Wednesday at 6 p.m. Camping during the festival is included in ticket priced from June 17-19.

Absolutely no pets are allowed. Organizers warn everyone they will be turned away if anyone brings pets.

Tickets at the gate are cash only. Cost for an adult weekend pass is $140 while for youth a weekend pass is $80. Everyone 12 years and under or 65 years and over is admitted free.

A Saturday ticket costs $120 for adults and $40 for youth while a Sunday ticket is $60 for adults and $10 for youth. This year’s Sunday gate sales will be donated to the Children’s Resource Council in High Prairie and the music mentorship program at Sangudo Community School.

Tickets locally are available in Joussard at Larsen’s General Store, in Kinuso at J’s One Stop, in High Prairie at Marigold Enterprises, or in Slave Lake at The Source – Al’s TV & Electronics Ltd.

Remember, abusive behaviour will not be tolerated, only live music is encouraged [no boom box or loud car stereo], and alcohol is subject to search and seizure outside the camping area on the fairgrounds. No fireworks allowed.

Here are some other facts to consider about the fair:
* Pets may be boarded at Luvemal Kennels in Kinuso. Phone [780] 775-3607. There is limited space and you must pre-book.

* The RCMP will probably have Checkstops in place between the highway and fair gates. They will seize open and/or improperly transported alcohol and/or drugs. They may also look for drugs if given reason to do so.

* Patrons may consume alcohol in the camping areas but not on the fairgrounds.

* Fair activities start at 5:30 p.m. Friday and end Sunday.

* Camping is included with a weekend pass. If you arrive early, you will be charged extra for camping.

* Choice of camping is on a first come basis.

* There are “loonie showers” in a portable shower structure on site.

* We do have water taps in a couple of locations in the campgrounds. Water is tested by Environmental Health Dept.

* There is a designated family oriented camping area.

* There is no area designated for RV camping.

 

Fairies Priya and Calla Johnston, Berlin Lee, Sasha Lee, representing the seasons of the year, participated in creative dancing with Slave Lake based entertainer Jule Asterisk on Saturday at the Reed Stage at the 2015 North Country Fair.
Fairies Priya and Calla Johnston, Berlin Lee, Sasha Lee, representing the seasons of the year, participated in creative dancing with Slave Lake based entertainer Jule Asterisk on Saturday at the Reed Stage at the 2015 North Country Fair.
A wonderful performance by Fred Penner on the Reed Stage during the 2015 North Country Fair.
A wonderful performance by Fred Penner on the Reed Stage during the 2015 North Country Fair.

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