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Trout Fest just as fun at 21

Chris Marchand

Chris Marchand served as editor of the Dryden Observer from August 2009 to April 2018.
Some future Trout performers practice their songs. Photos by Michael Christianson
Some future Trout performers practice their songs. Photos by Michael Christianson

By Michael Christianson

Jonny Wong of the 24th St. Wailers rocks the sax.
Jonny Wong of the 24th St. Wailers rocks the sax.

Once again the Trout Forest Music Festival in Ear Falls brought together a wide variety of people for some music by the water.

This year marks the twenty-first year of the festival and for those coming back it offered up the same relaxing festival experience that they have come to know.

The music started early in the day and went on into the night with a background of rolling clouds and falling stars.

Michelle Shepherd was born and raised in Red Lake and she has been coming to Trout Forest since the beginning. She says she is glad the festival still has a small non-commercialized feel to it and she says the heart keeps her coming back.

“It’s grown phenomenally. It’s amazing how I’ve watched it evolve over the years,” said Shepherd. “It had heart. It had a lot of really dedicated community members that believe in the power of music and they brought it together.”

The festival in the heart of Northwestern Ontario’s woods draws a lot of people out of Winnipeg for a mini-reunion of friends and musicians.  The festival gives the opportunity for patrons and musicians alike to discover new acts and rekindle old friendships.

Raine Hamilton from Winnipeg attended the festival before but this was her first time performing solo. She says the artists are treated very well over the weekend.

“I would describe this as a quaint and good time, there’s good vibrations all over the place,” said Wilson. “Everything is walkable which I really enjoy, having the water near by is fantastic and there’s a real vibrant connection with community so I’m finding it a fun place to be.”

The festival offers a variety of performers for all ages including musician and children’s performer Jake Chenier; this was his sixth time at the Trout Forest.

“It’s such a cozy atmosphere,” said Chenier “I love the crowds, it’s always a good time and it’s a real musicians kind of festival. So much camaraderie and the food backstage is amazing so we always have a good time.”

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Saturday night’s Grand Ol’ Opry workshop combined multiple bands and performers for a country-themed set.
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The Trout Forest Music Festival is a great place for kids.
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Refreshing swimming at Ear Falls Waterfront Park.

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