The Dryden Observer

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Intimate setting keeps Trout Forest Music Festival diehards coming back

Festival goers relax and do some hair braiding while listening to Fred Penner on Friday night, August 10. Photo by Hope Murdick.

Story by Lindsey Enns

Music fans from all over Ontario and Manitoba enjoyed yet another successful year of music in the woods under sunny skies at the 17th annual Trout Forest Music Festival in Ear Falls this past weekend.

Those in attendance enjoyed a weekend jammed packed full of various musical entertainment while camping out next to the water’s edge. Carl Bleich of Dryden has been volunteering at the festival for 17 years and says it’s the size of it that keeps him coming back year after year.

“Here you can still be in your tent and hear the music at nighttime and you get to camp right on

site,” Bleich said.

After enjoying a day filled with activities and performances, once the sun goes down campers get to enjoy listening and playing music around a campfire well into the night.

“It’s so finely tuned here that after 17 years it just runs so smoothly,” he said.

“The only thing that makes it even better is when we have exceptional weather like we have been getting this weekend.”

Some volunteers arrived a week prior to the event to help set up and get everything ready for campers and performers. Performers from across Canada included Rambling Dan Frechette from Winnipeg, Grammy award winner Alex Cuba and Canadian icon and family entertainer for nearly 30 years, Fred Penner, who took to the stage for his first time at the festival. For someone who has performed for all sorts of ages and sizes of audiences, Penner said that he was really glad to be performing for this crowd in Ear Falls.

“I really am enjoying the intimate setting and the size of this festival,” he said.

Penner performed solo and alongside other artists throughout the weekend and says that he feeds off the energy both on stage and off while performing. After decades of performing and writing music, Penner says that he still gets inspiration for new music all over the place.

“I could see something while I am driving around or hear something and think that would make a great song.”

Penner spent the weekend performing and taking the time to interact with fans. He says that he hasn’t been through northwestern Ontario for a while and hopes to make his way through Dryden sometime in the near future.

“I want to keep performing and doing this until I physically can’t anymore, it’s just what I love to do.”

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