This Week In Art/Culture/Entertainment

By John Swartz

UPDATED with late Mariposa concert news in the shorts section.

The Roots North Music Festival has a main stage lineup for the April 21 to 23 concert event.

The Friday night show starts with Craig Mainprize followed by Terra Lightfoot and then Steve Poltz. Craig we know about, or should. Terra has played here a number of times, the last being the Mariposa Folk Festival’s October series of concerts. Poltz was a the last Mariposa summer festival on the main stage.

Steve Poltz At The 2019 Mariposa Folk Festival

Saturday’s evening concert has Lydia Persaud, Logan Staats and the Good Lovelies. Persaud also played Mariposa’s fall concert, Staats is from Brantford and his single, The Lucky Ones, was #1 on iTunes when it was released and he won, with his band, Ghost Town Orchestra, Best Rock Album at the 2014 Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards. The Good Lovelies have been to the Mariposa summer festival at least twice, and I’m pretty sure did one or two of the off season concerts.

There are also going to be artists at, at least three downtown venues, but those details are still developing.

You can get tickets online. The main stage concerts will be at St. Paul’s Centre. As with previous years, the basement level at St. Paul’s will be filled with art made locally.

Art Contest

Here’s an interesting one.  Sustainable Orillia is having a contest. The theme is Orillia 2050 – a Sustainable City. From their press release: “The contest asks artists to imagine what the Orillia community—including our local lakes and surrounding townships—might look like after 30 years (well, 28 now) of working to change the way we do things in order to reduce the consequences of the Climate Crisis.”

On one hand, all you brushy types could revisit Blade Runner for ideas (even though we passed the time setting of the movie – we haven’t decayed to all Ridley Scott thought we might), or remember what is was like back in April/May/June of 2020 during the first stay at home when the air cleaned up (and got silent) and the forest animals started showing up in back yards.

The contest has been organized into three classes, adult, high school students and elementary school age. They have a $1,500 prize pool to split among the top three in each category.

The contest begins March 1 with a deadline for submissions of June 30 (June 15 for students) with winners announced in July. There will be an exhibition of the work during Sustainable Orillia Month in September.

Further details about the contest will be on the Sustainable Orillia website March 1. They are also encouraging sponsors to get on board and those interested can contact

Looking Forward To Summer

Mariposa has two things happening affecting the summer festival. You can get tickets online now. There are a variety of options. Weekend passes for youth and young adults are pretty cheap. Here’s the lineup of acts booked so far:

Tom Wilson of Blackie and the Rodeo Kings at the 2019 Mariposa Folk Festival

Lennon Stella, Mavis Staples and Serena Ryder at the top, Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, Dala, Dwayne Gretzky, Irish Mythen, James Keelaghan, Marla & David Celia, Rueben and the Dark, the Arrogant Worms, and the Weather Station are returning to the festival. The rest of the list includes, Kathleen Edwards, JP Saxe, Allison Russell, Andrew Waite, Aysanabee, Celeigh Cardinal, Charlie Cunningham, Harrow Fair, Ian Sherwood, Jane’s Party, John Craigie, Kellie Loder, Le Ren, Leyla McCalla, Lido Pimienta, Logan Staats, Moscow Apartment, Ruby Waters, Run Loops, Sraha Hagen, Stephen Lewis and the Big Band of Fun, Tami Nelson, The Fretless, The Pairs, The Small Glories, Vinta Youngtree and the Blooms and Zaki Ibrahim. There are about 20 more acts planned for the gig.

And, if you want to play Mariposa, or know someone who does, the Audition Showcase is happening May 1 at St. Paul’s Centre. You can apply now. Get the details online.

Orillia’s Red Light District Returns

You may have noticed the Streets Alive Letters making up the ARTS sign in the Arts District have been bathed in red light this week. You may also have noticed strings of cloth hearts have suddenly appeared here and there in the downtown, or the doors to nowhere opposite the ARTS arrangement have acquired hearts. It’s the handiwork of Leslie Fournier and a group of 8 artists she enlisted to decorate the next shopping season.

Conveniently the Downtown Management Board is running a little contest. Take a pic of yourself and a valentine in the downtown on February 14 and post it on their Facebook page and you could win a $250 gift package. Leslie said it turns out she and the artists provided nice backdrops for the contest.

The Shorts

  • I just saw from the horse’s fingers the annual Mariposa Folk Festival Gospel and Blues concert, which normally would be happening in a couple weeks, will happen April 9.No formal announcement has been made, but there should be more details next week.
  • Opera House has a bunch of concerts lined up for March. Jethro Tull’s Martin Barre is bringing an Aqualung 50th anniversary show in. Chantel Kreviazuk, the Shantyman and Ron James are also schedule.
A Cell Phone Looked Like In 1920
  • OMAH has two new exhibits, a 35 piece quilt show called Colour With a U and From Marbles to Minecraft: A Century of Childhood which contrasts childhood in Orillia between the 1920s and the 2020s. Also, February 16 at 7 p.m. the next installment of the History Speaker’s Series happens online. Fred Blair will speak about the Black Veterans of the War of 1812, specifically why the veterans refused to settle on land granted to them on Wilberforce Street in Oro. Call the museum at 705-326-2159 to register and the event link will be sent to you. Also, you can check out the unveiling of OMAH’s latest additions of Elizabeth Wyn Wood sketches to its collection of Youtube page.
  • Ronnie Douglas has a new original tune called Right Between The Eyes you can see and hear on Youtube.
  • Gordon Lightfoot has a new tune, Oh So Sweet, you can listen to on Youtube.
  • Steven Henry does an online concert Saturday’s at 8 p.m.
David Crighton
  • Did you get a season ticket here for the Orillia Concert Association’s excellent series? It’s only $70 and I dare you to find a better deal to see three concerts of this type anywhere. The next and first in person concert of the series is February 20 with Sonic Escape (Maria Millar, violin and Shawn Wyckoff, flute) at St. Andrew’s, followed by the Hog Town Brass March 27 at the Opera House. The final concert is May 1 with the Toronto All Star Big Band.

(Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia and Images Supplied)

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