The Dryden Observer

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FEATURE: 20 Years of Music in the Woods at the Trout Forest Music Festival

Chris Marchand

Chris Marchand served as editor of the Dryden Observer from August 2009 to April 2018.
Trout Forest Music Festival performers Shred Kelly jamming on stage with the D Rangers. Photos by Michael Christianson

By Michael Christianson

The Trout Forest Music Festival enjoyed great weather for its 20th year, offering good times on the beach at Ear Falls Waterfront Park.

The twentieth year of the Trout Forest Music Festival was the tie-dye anniversary.

To celebrate the milestone volunteers hand dyed 120 shirts for the volunteers to wear during their shifts and as you know from my previous articles, volunteers make the festival.

This year around 100 volunteers gave their time to help out the over 80 performers and 2000 patrons that made the annual Ear Falls event such a success.

Kathy Robinson is the chair person and volunteer coordinator for the festival and she knows first hand what makes the experience so special for her.

“It’s the people,” said Robinson. “I’ve just made such good friends and of course a lot of people come back every year. I’m talking about the patrons but I’m talking more about the volunteers and I’m so involved with the volunteers. It’s sort of a friendship you have for three days. It’s an intense time putting the festival together we call ourselves the trout family and it feels like that. Then everybody scatters, I mean there are a few people that are of course involved locally. It’s like you have a family reunion every year same time, that’s what it’s like. That’s what’s most gratifying for me plus to put on something like this is cool, to help do that and see it all come together, of course it takes a huge team. We have a wonderful music producer Devin Latimer he just has his finger on the pulse of talent and he’s so easy to work with.”

Something happened Friday night that had those who were there recounting the story all weekend. Winnipeg based band The D Rangers were playing a late night show at Frank’s Tavern when the power went out. The band told everyone to pack in close under the tent next to the stage and continued to play their set acoustically. Once again displaying the perseverance of this festival.

Dancing away the afternoon near the main stage.

Aaron Goss, a member of The D Rangers, originally from Kenora has many fond memories over the years at the festival.

“One of the best I always love it,” said Goss. “This is one I come to most years even if I am not playing , this is one I always try to make it to and it’s a great one to play too. I think it’s the first festival we ever played as a band in maybe 2000 or 2001. I think this is our fourth time here. I’ve got a lot of friends and family being from the region, my parents always come here too. A bit of a homecoming in a lot of ways.”

Winnipeg-based band Federal Lights performs a Saturday afternoon set on the Trout Forest mainstage.

Saturday afternoon’s ‘Kanadiana Killers’ themed stage also felt like a reunion. The D Rangers jammed together with Shred Kelly whose singer, Sage McBride is also from Kenora but had not met Goss before the performance. Goss also said that The D Rangers singer Jaxon Haldane is also from Kenora and that’s where they met. McBride mentioned on stage it was a bit of a Beaver Brae reunion.

Trio Still Standing perform on the Frank’s Tavern stage against a backdrop of Trout fest volunteer shirts from year’s past. Photos by Michael Christianson


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