By John Swartz
Summer is going to be great. At least the second weekend of July is going to be. This week the Mariposa Folk Festival released the lineup they have booked so far.
The list is long, 46 names, and I’m sure there will still be a few additions (audition winners, etc.), maybe a big name or two we’ll hear about in the weeks ahead. This is the first time in a long while I can recall an almost complete list of performers has been announced this early.
I’m sure you’ve seen the poster floating around you computer screen, especially if you get notifications from Mariposa or have Facebook, but if you haven’t here’s a few notes. Following convention of how concert posters work (those listed at the top and in bold font being the main attraction) the big names are Tegan and Sara, Feist, Rufus Wainwright (who will likely be the headliners for each of the main stage nights), The Wood Brothers, Rural Alberta Advantage, KT Tunstall, Wild Rivers, Judy Collins, Son Little, Matt Andersen and the Big Bottle of Joy and Jeremy Dutcher.
Hold on. Judy Collins? Judy Collins is coming back to Mariposa (I’m sure back in the 60s or 70s she played the festival)? This is going to be fantastic. Her version of Send in The Clowns has been stuck in my head for at least 40 years as a reminder of a time, place and people (person).
Matt Andersen has an eight piece band with him. I still remember the first time he played in Orillia for the Spring Blues Festival and was occupying the window at Apple Annie’s, filling it actually, all by himself. He’s played here several times since and those of you who saw those gigs know when I say he delivers an intense show know what I mean.
I’m surprised KT Tunstall is not on the top line of the poster. Tegan and Sara and Feist are products of past Mariposa festivals because both had their first major exposure here in Orillia. Rufus Wainwright’s name is maybe better known to Canadians than his music might be. His musical pedigree includes his father, Loudon, and mother, Kate McGarrigle. In fact, looking further down the list, his Aunt (Anna) and sister (Martha) will be performing together at the festival as well.
The Wood Brothers (Grammy nominees), Son Little (R&B), Wild Rivers (Toronto folk group, Juno nominee and opening act for The Chicks world tour this summer), Rural Alberta Advantage (lead singer, Nils Edenloff was born in Alberta but the band is from Toronto) and Jeremy Dutcher (played a gig here back in 2018 at St. Paul’s Centre) round out the bold font names.
As is usual for Mariposa, many of the names are not familiar except to their most loyal fans. However, a few have played the festival before. Jill Barber, David Francy, Steve Poltz and the Weather Station are returning, as is Sharon Hampson (and daughter Randi) doing Sharon, Lois and Bram stuff. Lindy Vopnfjörd played here last year as part of the Roots North Music Festival and The Vaudevillian played the Brownstone several times.
One group a lot of people will be interested in is the acoustic version of the Trews. Every year I used to suggest to Mike Hill when he was the artistic director getting Rush (Neil was still alive then) to do an acoustic set would be just fantastic. In a way someone heard part of what I was saying.
Tickets and weekend passes are on sale online now and you can still apply to volunteer at the festival. Meanwhile, tickets are on sale for the March 25 Mariposa-In-Concert event at St. Paul’s Centre with Union Duke, James Gray and Josh Kvasnak (of The Doozies). – all of whom have played Mariposa before. And the free audition concert happens at St. Paul’s Centre April 28.
March 4 the Orillia Concert Band is doing an all Broadway concert at St. Paul’s at 7:30 p.m. Well, two tunes you’ll hear aren’t from Broadway, but most people think they are. Otherwise they are covering almost all the bases. Christina Bosco is going to be in as a guest performer and she’ll be singing I Dreamed A Dream from Les Miz and Blue Moon from – it’s one of the ones not from a Broadway show.
Sam Johnston has an interesting gig happening March 16 at the Lone Wolf Café. She has to do a performance project to complete her studies and she’s going to do a mock radio show about the history of women in music. She’ll play some recordings and sing some tunes to illustrate the historical narrative. It’s a fundraiser for the Orillia Youth Centre. Tickets are $25 and you can get them online. If you can’t go you can still donate to the youth center.
More about bands that have played here before, My Son The Hurricane is returning for a gig March 30 at St. Paul’s Centre. You might remember them from their Mariposa main stage closing set in 2019, or the couple of times they played at the Geneva. Let me change that, you will remember them because I don’t know how anyone could forget seeing this band.
Right after Mariposa they toured Europe, and had another major tour of North America and Europe planned for 2020. We all know what happened to that. They are a 12 piece band, which means – horns. They mostly play their own tunes, but they do cover other bands like Chicago (which maybe this time I’ll be there in time to catch them doing Chicago). You can get tickets online.
Roots North is next at St. Paul’s April 21 and 22. Last week I mentioned they only needed one more name on the marquee to have a full slate. Well, Derick Lehmann sent a note saying they decided this year because of the size of the Tommy Youngsteen band and the amount of material they can cover from each member’s other bands – and the amount of blues The Ronnie Douglas Band can throw into he mix, the festival will split the Friday night between those two bands and not have a third act. I’m not going to argue with that decision, that’s almost too much music for one night anyway.
Saturday night Meredith Moon will be on stage with Kellie Loder and Michael Kaeshammer. There will also be other venues participating and that lineup is coming soon. I’d get tickets online now.
Tangents is headlining a gig at Creative Nomad Studios May 6. Battlescarred, The Therapists, The Latest Issue are also playing. It’s an all ages show and admission is $10.
- The Lakehead University Student Union is hosting an Afro-Caribbean Night at St. Paul’s Centre to closeout Black History Month Feb. 28. It’s from 7 to 10 p.m. There will be entertainment, music, a photo booth and refreshments. Lakehead students get in free, everyone else pays $5. RSVP online.
- 89.1 MAX FM and Gravenhurst’s Tall Pines Music and Art Festival are holding a Battle of the Bands at the Bracebridge Hall May 11, 12 and 13 for the purpose of selecting an opening act to the June 16 and 17 festival. Blue Rodeo, Matthew Good and I Mother Earth are headliners. Find the registration information online.
- Ronnie Douglas’s new album, Music Is Medicine, is out and you can listen to it on Youtube.
- The Leacock Museum has a couple things happening. The submission period is now open for the K. Valerie Connor Memorial Poetry contest. You have until May 8 to send something in under three categories – adult, teens and children. The total prize pool is $2,000. You can find the nomination rules and registration online. And, the museum has a new exhibit, A Leacock Love Story. It’s about Stevie and Beatrix, not that other one.You can see it Wednesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. until May.
- OMAH has new exhibits to see. The main floor has portraits of famous and should be famous women by Amanta Scott called Eyeing Medusa (Paul Shilling also has some work up in that gallery); in the smaller just off the lobby room is work by David Alan Hill and Christine Mack called Beyond the Fence; upstairs see Gary Blundell and Victoria Ward’s Burner Herzog; and in the other second floor room find out the fascinating story of Great Tait: The True Story of Orillia’s First Millionaire. The next History Speaker’s Night is March 15, but there is a change in speakers and that info isn’t complete yet; it’s going to be on Zoom and you can register online. Hibernation Arts guest artist for February is Bob Broom. Peter Street Fine Arts has new work by February guest artist Sue Emily.
- Couchiching Craft Brewing has Lyric Dubee playing March 3; Sam Johnston is in March 4 – with a band behind her… the Opera House has concerts by Pavlo March 11; Digging Roots March 16; Sean McCann (of Great Big Sea) March 17 and the Orillia Silver Band March 19; you can get tickets for those online… Mariposa Art Theatre’s next Film Night is March 8 with the documentary Buffy Sainte-Marie: Carry It On ; the next movie is Living (with Bill Nighy and Aimee Lou Wood) March 22; showtimes are 4 and 7 p.m. at the Galaxy; Tickets are $15 only at the door.
(Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia and Images Supplied) Main: At Mariposa in 2023, Feist, Rufus Wainwright, and Tegan and Sara.