Live music and family fun to be found at Younge Street festival

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KAGAWONG – If it’s great live music, the Carver Kings and fun for the whole family that you have been  missing during the pandemic, then the Younge St. Festival is the place to be!

“Basically, this festival is an attempt to be a diversion for everyone from the COVID-19 nastiness that we have been dealing with for such a long time,” stated Sandi Hurcomb (of Sugar Bush Coffee House in Kagawong), one of the organizers of the event taking place September 3-6 in Kagawong. “It will provide everyone with something to look forward to and provide fun for everyone.”

“The festival is a community-oriented event,” said Ms. Hurcomb. She said original plans were to hold the event over the May long weekend (but had to be delayed due to the pandemic). “As an Island community celebration of everything that we have come through so far, and although we aren’t through the pandemic, it provides a light at the end of the tunnel.”

One of the many great events to be held during the weekend are live chainsaw performances by the Carver Kings. This father-son sculpting team consists of Paul and Jacob Frenette. You may know the two from their roles in HGTV’s Carver Kings and OLN’s Saw Dogs where they created top chainsaw wood carvings and tree sculptures. Or from their travels around Canada in Ontario, including a number of visits to Manitoulin. You may have also seen some of their work in playgrounds around North America. Helping bring art into play Paul and Jacob work closely with Earthscape. The Carver Kings carve both hard and soft wood, using chainsaws and power tools. They have made a collection of art that ranges from wildlife realism to abstract surrealism.

Ms. Hurcomb explained, “I am a huge fan of live music, but I had no idea I had missed it as much as I have, it wasn’t even close. I’m so excited about the lineup of musicians we have on hand, which includes several local musicians and several from Ontario that are well known.”  

One of the musicians is Everett Morrison, a Cree bass-baritone. He is originally from Moosonee and now resides in Wiikwemkoong.  He has performed throughout Northern Ontario and Northern Quebec. Mr. Morrison made his professional debut in the spring of 2017 with the Canadian Opera Company.  He sang the role of the Wandering Spirit war chief of the Crees in the Canadian Opera Company’s production of the Canadian opera Louis Riel.

Mr. Morrison, “sent us a couple of his YouTube performances. He is incredible,” said Ms. Hurcomb. 

“I’m so excited that Aiyana Louis is performing as well,” said Ms. Hurcomb. “She is a young lady from M’Chigeeng First Nation.” She has been performing in dance, musical theatre and singing competitions from a young age, and last summer she hosted her first ever live show at the Sugarbush Canadian Coffee House. 

Among the other talented musicians taking part in the festival include award winning singer-songwriter and storyteller Jory Nash, “who blends elements of folk, jazz, blues, pop and soul into an original stew of sound.” He has recorded eight critically acclaimed albums.

Andrea Florian will also be performing. Billboard Magazine stated that her songs are “exquisitely etched songs.” She just wants to focus on creating something that feels good, that one hopes will help others find their space.”

Kevin Closs is a singer-songwriter originally from Manitoulin Island. Since 1990 he has worked as a recording and performing artist releasing 12 independent albums, playing concerts, festivals and clubs across the country. His third album, Surrender, featured two hit singles, ‘Erica’ and ‘Home.’ He has also toured with multiple Juno award winner and country music legend Charlie Major.

Mr. Closs’s contributions to the Northern Ontario arts community won him the Jackie Washington award in 2002 and the Mayor’s Celebration of the Arts Exceptional Achievement Award in 2016.

Mimi O’Bonsawin, who has been on the musical stage in Kagawong previously, will also be performing at the festival. She has been described as an old soul who is not afraid of creating intimacy with her audience and sharing laughs and tears all the while teaching you a thing or two about yourself and the world around you. Her newest release, Elle Danse, was in ELMNT FM’s top 10 best albums of 2020 and it was recently nominated for two prizes at the Trille Or Awards. She has received various awards and nominations like Best Pop Record at the Indigenous Music Awards (2019). 

Patrick Therrien is a Northern Ontario singer/songwriter whose been a bit player in the scene since the mid-1990s, playing in more bands and on more stages than he can count. He’s also a card-carrying member of the Island’s own Burns Wharf Theatre Players. 

Along with the great musical lineup there will also be many fun activities and events for all members of the family to take part in, such as the teenie weenie greenie float your boat contest, hay bale toss, log bowling, nail driving contest, and bath bomb making. There will also be a showoff your shoes silent auction with proceeds going to  Manitoulin Haven House. 

“We are hoping to have a lot of vendors on hand for the weekend,” said Ms. Hurcomb. “We are still accepting vendors, we have 35 acres of property, so we are encouraging all vendors to join us.” 

You can follow the festival on Facebook at Younge St. Festival, call Ms. Hurcomb for more details at 705-210-0500, or see the ad on Page 17 .