FORT FRANCES – There will be lots of great music at the Harmony of Nations Music Festival, but now festival-goers can help make music too. Details have been released about the festival’s interactive Workshop Series, running in the daytime of July 18-19 as a lead-in to the festival performances. The workshops offer a variety of musical fun for all ages and feature festival musicians and community groups.
Workshop participants can try their hand at songwriting, playing bluegrass, Métis jigging, making a drum and so much more. The workshops are a chance to learn from experts, like Jean Paul de Roover who will present The Art of Looping to demonstrate how to create live music in layers using electronics. Other workshops encourage participants to bring instruments. Bluegrass band The WoodPicks will give group lessons on playing a tune and Shy-Anne Hovorka will lead songwriting using guitar.
Other highlights include Buffy Sainte-Marie’s A MultiMedia Life talk, and the Emerging Artist Jam featuring young artists Nick Sherman, Larissa Desrosiers and the band Cornshed. These two workshops are being held at the main festival site, while the majority of other workshops are at the Fort Frances Public Library Technology Centre.
As the festival approaches, many performing artists have expressed their thoughts on the inaugural event. “I’m really excited,” says Nick Sherman, who performs Friday July 18th, “It’s important there’s this kind of festival here in Northwestern Ontario.”
The Festival has also partnered with community organizations, such as Couchiching First Nation and Métis Nation of Ontario, to offer mini hand-drum making and family activities. An invite is extended to arts-related groups and individuals to attend the Ontario Arts Council Informational Session with Marilyn McIntosh, Northwestern Consultant. Monday, July 7, 2014, 9:30 to 11:00 a.m. at the Sunset Country Métis Community Hall, 714 Armit Avenue, Fort Frances.
Admission to the workshop series is free for Festival ticket holders. Tickets are available online at harmonyofnations.ca, and at the Fort Frances Public Library, the Coffee Landing and Cloverleaf Grocery. Harmony of Nations takes place July 18th-19th on the Fort Frances Waterfront. The event brings together Canadian, First Nation, Métis and American communities.