The Road To Sawdust City Music Festival – Sawdust City Brewing Co. Shows

This August long weekend (August 3-5),  Gravenhurst, ON is the place to be. Of course, I’m speaking of the 2nd annual Sawdust City Music Festival. In an effort to showcase some of the great talent taking part in the festival, we have been doing a series of interviews throughout the past weeks. Today, let’s focus on the performers that will be playing at Sawdust City Brewing Co. throughout the big weekend!

Rattlesnake Choir – Answers from John Borra

When: Friday, August 3, 2018
Where: Sawdust City Brewing Co. (397 Muskoka Rd. N)
Time: Doors @ 9pm
Free

Is this your first time playing the Sawdust City Music Festival?

Yes, first time.

Who are you looking forward to seeing perform from the festival line up?

So many great performers, but if I had to say…Rose Cousins, Damhnait Doyle, Good Lovelies, Lemon Bucket Orkestra, Royal Wood, Mayhemingways…

What are some things you think make this specific music festival great?

The festival director and brainchild behind the operation, Miranda Mulholland is one of our Rattlesnake Choir alumni. She was a big part of our band for many years so this festival is extra special for us. Her great-great-grandfather was once the mayor of Gravenhurst and is responsible for having the opera house built. That she carries on that tradition, all these years later, adds another layer of special to the whole thing.

How would you say playing a festival differs from a solo show?

Festivals are wonderful opportunities to see and meet other bands and musicians. They are also a great place to expose your music to an audience that might not come across you along your regular touring routes. And they tend to be in pretty cool locations.

Explain your performance in five words or less.

Rockin’ roots music for lovers

Are there any other major dates or festivals you would like to mention for upcoming shows?

We are most excited about the new record we are currently making. We hope to release it later this year and play as much as we can.

Todd Stewart

When: Saturday, August 4th
Where: Sawdust City Brewing Co. (397 Muskoka Rd. N)
Time: Doors 8pm
Free

Is this your first time playing the Sawdust City Music Festival?

I’m really happy to say that this is my second time playing the festival… in its second year! Last year I didn’t know what to expect and it was my first time in the Muskoka area but I came away with one of my favorite musical moments of 2017. When we had to leave it felt like a giant rubber band became attached to the back of my head. I wanted to move to Muskoka. There is a real beautiful power in the land and the folks in Gravenhurst were beyond kind. The experience hasn’t left my mind since last summer.

Who are you looking forward to seeing perform from the festival line up?

Danny Michel on Friday is a sure bet and the Lemon Bucket Orkestra on Sunday night will be off the charts. But as a songwriter my favorite is probably going to be the songwriting circle with Russell deCarle Saturday afternoon. He’s just one of the best.

What excites you about being part of a music festival?

The air. The collective energy of music lovers. The chance to see other performers that you don’t normally get to see throughout the year. Just the greatness of so much music in one space at one time, it makes the universe a better place to be in.

How would you say playing a festival differs from a solo show?

You feel like you’re part of a collective energy. You’re plugged into the creative juice that’s flowing from stage to stage, which might just be the sweat from the last set, either way you don’t feel like you’re standing alone. As a performer you’re apart of a bigger stage and a greater experience.

What are some things you think make this specific music festival great?

This festival truly feels like a boutique experience. The town was so inviting and treated me so well last year, it’s simply a gorgeous festival. The V.I.P show was an experience that I’ll never forget as a performer and I’m sure the folks who were lucky enough to be there can say the same as an audience member. It definitely has a family / small town feel to it all that’s a little more inclusive then the big festivals have.

If you were to headline a festival and create your own lineup, who would you choose?

I’m a bit of a moody songwriter, if I was to be real selfish my fantasy line up would be Jason Isbell, Ryan Adams, The Judds, Blue Rodeo, Right Away Great Captain, Gregory Alan Isakov, Bruce Cockburn, The Be Good Tanyas, Andrew Bird, Joel Plaskett, Marty Stuart, Wilco, Carole King, Shovels & Rope, Amelia Curran, Shakey Graves, Rye Cooder, Band of Horses, Father John Misty, Dolly Parton and a Neil Young solo set.

If you could pick a place to have your own music festival, where would it be and why?

I love music festivals amongst nature and even better near the water. Two of the most picturesque festivals that I’ve had the pleasure to play has been the Calgary Folk Music Festival and Sawdust City Music Festival. Beautiful surroundings and beautiful people.

Explain your performance in five words or less.

Heartbeats & living room poetry

Are there any other major dates or festivals you would like to mention for upcoming shows?

I’ll pick one fav date for the next three months:
Aug 8th the Northern Beauties are in Fernie B.C for their Wednesday Concert Series
Sept 29th the Northern Beauties are in Swift Current Sask for the Blenders Concert series
And a fun one on Oct 30th I play in Medicine Hat AB at the Esplanade Arts & Heritage Centre with Glass Tiger!

Mayhemingways – Answers from Josh Fewings

When: Saturday, August 4th
Where: Sawdust City Brewing Co. (397 Muskoka Rd. N)
Time: Doors 8pm
Free

Is this your first time playing the Sawdust City Music Festival?

Yes, this is our first time there. Looking forward to playing and hearing some music in the beautiful Muskokas. I’ve always liked the smell of Sawdust too, so that’s exciting.

What excites you about being part of a music festival?

Festivals like this are exciting because they’re curated in a way that brings excellent artists together in one big happening. Folks travel from far and wide to hear music they like and discover new stuff. When you’re performing you get swept up into the energy of all of this, and it’s fun to put your music out there as part of it.

If you could pick a place to have your own music festival, where would it be and why?

You could hold one almost anywhere. I think the beauty of music festivals is you’re only limited by your imagination, and maybe city by-laws. I think finding creative spaces to present music in is neat. That or in a farmer’s field in upstate New York.

Explain your performance in five words or less.

Eclectic. Fuzz-folk. Light/dark. Hypnotic

Are there any other major dates or festivals you would like to mention for upcoming shows?

We’re playing the Kingsville Folk Music Festival (Aug.10-12) near Leamington, ON and Shaun Majumder’s The Gathering (Aug. 24/25) in Burlington, Newfoundland. Check out Mayhemingways.com for dates!

Nate Daviau

When: Sunday, August 5
Where: Sawdust City Brewing Co. (397 Muskoka Rd. N)
Time: doors 9pm – 19+
Free

Is this your first time playing the Sawdust City Music Festival?

This is my first time playing Sawdust but I actually attended last year. Really enjoyed the show on the barge.

Who are you looking forward to seeing perform from the festival line up?

I’m most looking forward to seeing Lydia Persaud. She’s probably my favourite artist on the lineup.

What are some things you think make this specific music festival great?

Gravenhurst…It’s sort of a hometown for me so i’m excited to be playing there.

Are there any other major dates or festivals you would like to mention for upcoming shows?

I’ll be playing the opening show for Manitoulin Country Fest along with the VIP booth for all 3 days.

Bet Smith & The Currie Brothers – Answers from Bet Smith

When: Sunday, August 5
Where: Sawdust City Brewing Co. (397 Muskoka Rd. N)
Time: doors 9pm – 19+
Free

Is this your first time playing the Sawdust City Music Festival?

This is not the first time my band and I have played the festival. We were part of the inaugural fest last year, opening the Saturday night opera house show for Harrow Fair and Jim Cuddy. It was a great night, and a wonderful festival. I wandered about and made sure to see as many acts as I could squeeze in. I was impressed by every single performer.

What excites you about Sawdust City Music Festival?

I’m excited that this festival is happening close to home, bringing culture and intrigue to the town of Gravenhurst. I’m proud to bring some local flavour to Sawdust City Music Festival. So many amazing acts are being imported to Gravenhurst from far and wide for the weekend. It is a privilege to play amongst these other performers, and I hope my band and I serve as a reminder that we have music worth hearing, made right here in Muskoka as well.

Who are you looking forward to seeing perform from the festival line up?

I’m an enormous Rose Cousins fan and can’t wait to hear her play at the Opera House. The O’Pears are phenomenal as well. Muskoka’s own Grady Kelneck will be there with his gorgeous voice… there is a lot to see and hear. I’m excited for all of it.

How would you say playing a festival differs from a solo show?

Festival goers are music lovers. I get to play some great solo shows, but I’ve also played a lot of shows in loud bars where everyone is staring at a television screen and yelling at one another. Music festivals are the polar opposite of that nightmare. People want nothing more than to watch and listen. It can be a little intimidating, but it feels great to be heard and appreciated. Also, festivals bring opportunities to get to know other performers and catch up with friends. They provide inspiration and a sense of community.

What are some things you think make this specific music festival great?

The friendly, dedicated organizers. The beautiful venues. The fact that it’s in Muskoka and you can easily jump in the lake between concerts, if you are so inclined.

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