Rah Rah – Supplied
Kelwood, MB | August 16-18
Big names: Rah Rah
Local talent: Burnt Project 1, Sierra Noble
$30-$40 day pass/$60 weekend pass
The tiny, 100-person village of Kelwood, Manitoba will get a major population boost from August 16-18. Eight years in, and Harvest Sun Music Festival has grown into a full-on cultural destination, drawing people from all corners of Manitoba for good tunes, tasty food and fresh community vibes.
The festival’s first year is a stark contrast to what it is today, explains director Nadia Kuhl. “We had 45 people the first year. It was on a hayrack–that was our stage–and we had three acts over the course of an afternoon. Last year, the festival had almost 500 people, there were three days of music with 25 different acts, free vendors and a full-force artisan and farmers’ market, and it just continues to grow.”
The latest edition of the annual event, which runs in conjunction with the Kelwood Agricultural Fair, will be a something-for-everyone affair with 25 acts, including performances by pop chanteuse Sierra Noble and lovable goofball Al Simmons.
Also slated to perform are 2013 Polaris Prize long-listers Rah Rah, indie-pop troubadour J.P. Hoe, and one-man rock band Shotgun Jimmie.
“We’re an all-Canadian festival,” Kuhl says. “Predominately, our lineup is made up of people that are originally from Manitoba or are currently living here.”
With an emphasis on supporting local music, local growers and a mandate to assist agriculture-based organizations, such as Manitoba Farmers with Disabilities and the Manitoba Farm and Rural Stress Line, the festival will also include a fantastic farmers’ market, showcasing some of the area’s producers.
“We have three or four small local farms that showcase what they do on their farms, and we encourage the people that are coming out for the festival to meet with them and talk with them, and make a date to go out to their farms to see where their food or whatever they farm is grown,” Kuhl says.
Among the local producers they work with are area alpaca and wool farmers who each produce handmade goods, a grass-fed organic beef and pork farmer, along with several different vegetable producers. This year, they’ll also be partnering with a local micro-brewery for their beer garden.
Kuhl hopes the festival inspires people to get to know their neighbours and buy local. “That sense of community is really important to me” she says. “Looking at who your neighbours are, what they’re growing and if you can support them instead of buying something from Superstore. Your neighbours can be anyone that’s in Manitoba. It’s just searching out what you can do to support the local producers.”