The Dryden Observer

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Group planning rock festival for July 2015

Chris Marchand

Chris Marchand served as editor of the Dryden Observer from August 2009 to April 2018.

By Chris Marchand

Perched upon the Canadian Shield, you would think there would be no shortage of rock in Dryden.

Yet that perception does exist among local country-weary live music fans. Now, a group has formed around the goal of establishing a rock music festival for the July of 2016.

Michelle Levesque led the charge for the festival, dubbed ‘Milltown Meltdown’ and has been joined in her efforts by Ritchie Noel (president), Shelley Swanson as treasurer, Lorie Friesen (secretary) and directors Jeff Levesque, Darryl Norman, Rhonda Sharpe-Klim and Samantha Scott. Levesque herself is vice-president.

“We’ve been having weekly meetings for about a month now,” said Levesque. “We’ve had a ton of people show up to volunteer and get sponsor packages together. We’ve inquired into venues and we’re preparing for indoor, or outdoor. We’re very, very serious about it.”

Levesque says the group has inquired into the booking fee for several Canadian classic rock acts.

As the idea only emerged around a month ago, Levesque says the committee agreed that trying to pull off the event concert in 2014 would be biting off more than they could chew.

“Eventually we’d like to do a two-day thing, but not quite yet,” said Levesque. “We’re shooting for 2015. We don’t want to rush it and we want to be taken seriously. Waiting until next year gives us enough time for planning, fundraising and sponsors.”

As far as incorporating local acts Levesque says they would like to do it through an audition process.

She says they hope to stage the festival in conjunction with the local ladies’ fast pitch invitational that draws many out-of-town teams each July.

A native of Ignace, Levesque says she misses the magic of John Ricci-fest, that community’s small rock and roll themed event.

“In Dryden, everything is always focused around country,” she said. “I’m from Ignace and the John Ricci festival was huge. It was fun and a lot of work for the volunteers, but as long as you have a group of people who are willing to do it.

People want to do this.”

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