It wouldn’t be summer without music festivals and it’s not like we’ve been joining the bandwagon here. If anything, I’d like to say we’ve been one of the early leaders in local, community-driven festivals and this year did not stray from that goal. But this year was different. This year was, shall we say, a little risky. And we’re happy to say that it was totally worth it.
If you had a chance to join us over the June 26-28th weekend, then you know exactly what I’m talking about: the Mountain Man Music Festival. Every one has its theme (OK, most of them do) and this one was very unique: three stages playing non-stop music all weekend long featuring a variety of genres played by local artists. It was like a gallery of undiscovered Ottawa Valley talents mix with a healthy spoonful of crowd favourites churning out reggae, blues, folk, country, R&B, and a little something extra in between. Needless to say, pulling off a festival like this was a bit of a challenge and came with some risks. There’s generally very little runoff between so many genres of music and with no major headliner to take the spotlight, there was no guarantee people would make the drive to spend the day or stay the weekend.
I’m happy to say we were pleasantly surprised by both the turnout and the reactions from the crowd. It may even be safe to say we’ve already accumulated some fans. (What should we call them: mountaineers?)
A summer sunset behind the outdoor stage as the Steve Marriner Band plays on into the night. Photo courtesy of Lori Hoddinott.
What was nice about Mountain Man was the relaxed atmosphere about it all. You could enjoy a full band on the outdoor stage – a brand new and permanent addition to The Peaks, I might add, made with help from our sponsor, Renfrew Home Hardware – or take in a smaller venue with a personal touch upstairs in Black Donalds on the Ottawa Blues Society stage. Personally, there were some nice surprises even I wasn’t expecting and I’ve already found myself shopping online for The Riot Police and Lucas Haneman. In fact, Lucas was probably the breakout, slap-across-the-face performer of the entire weekend, in my opinion. Judge for yourself with this video of just his second song from Friday night’s show. (Apologies in advance for some of the audio in some parts as this was all captured with my Canon without any special recording gear.)
And of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t make mention of the other fantastic performers: Jeff Rogers, Dan Livingstone, Andria Simone, Soulstack, Richard Martel, and more. So now that we have that one done and over, you’d think we could rest for the summer, right? Wrong, because there’s the always-popular sensation we call Calabogie Blues & Ribfest. That means we take a couple of days to rest, catch our breath, and dive right back into the swing of things.
See you in August!