Highlights from “Music on the Barge” at Sawdust City Music Festival

Gravenhurst, ON played host to one of the many festivals taking place across the country this summer.  The inaugural Sawdust City Music Festival was held at various location across this beautiful town in the heart of cottage country in Muskoka this long weekend.  The success of this festival has affirmed that it was only the first of many to come for this Civic Holiday event.  It was the brainchild of local entrepreneur, Miranda Mulholland of Roaring Girl Records.  Her vision of the festival came from her desire to celebrate her Gravenhurst heritage.  Featured performers included The Jim Cuddy Family Band, C &C Surf Factory, Devin Cuddy, Tim Moxam and Harrow Fair, among many others.

One of the many concerts taking place over the weekend was “Music on the Barge” which has become a summertime tradition in Gravenhurst since the 1950’s.  Gull Lake Rotary Park has a one-of-the-kind stage in the water overlooking one of the town’s most treasured and family-friendly locations.  Every Sunday evening, music appreciators of all ages flock the shores of Gull Lake for free music concerts.  So, it was only natural that Sawdust City Music Festival merge with Music on the Barge in an effort to recognize this time-honoured event which is woven into the fabric of Gravenhurst’s history.

The night began with local singer, Briar Summers singing the National Anthem.  After a brief address from Miranda Mulholland, Jeremy Dutcher started off the music with a song acknowledging his Wolastoq First Nation roots.

The crowds then had the pleasure of seeing three very talented musical acts perform on the iconic barge stage.  Jessica Mitchell performed a stripped-down set of music she has recently written for her upcoming full-length album.  She ended the night with the song she reminisced as being ‘the song that brought her to the festival’, “Workin On Whiskey” which sounded so divine at this special venue.  Melanie Brulee kicked up her heels, performing next.  It was uncanny how much she sounded like the great Janis Joplin.  Her set ended with a Francophone cover of “These Boots Are Made For Walkin”.  The soulful sounds of The Julian Taylor Band closed out the night with Taylor and his 7 minstrels putting on an outstanding show complete with dual keys and saxophone!

Jessica Mitchell

Melanie Brulee

The Julian Taylor Band

In the lead up to Sawdust City Music Festival, Canadian Beats had the opportunity to interview many of the artists who performed at the festival this past weekend.  Visit www.canadianbeats.ca for all of our The Road to Sawdust City Music Festival interviews., which include “Music on the Barge” featured artists, Jessica Mitchell and The Julian Taylor Band.

Check out our Facebook page for more pictures from the evening.

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