T.O. mu­si­cian goes back to Muskoka roots

Mi­randa Mulholland launches Saw­dust City Mu­sic Fes­ti­val

Thornhill Post - - Arts - by Ron Johnson

In re­cent years, the Muskoka mu­si­cal tra­di­tion seemed to amount to the con­sump­tion of dis­counted Mol­son Cana­dian tall cans and another set of Kim Mitchell down at the ven­er­a­ble Kee to Bala. But tire­less artis­tic ex­plorer Mi­randa Mulholland is set to change all that with the launch of the Saw­dust City Mu­sic Fes­ti­val in Graven­hurst, Aug. 4 to 6.

Turns out Mulholland, who per­forms with Soulpep­per as well as the duo Har­row Fair and a few other mu­si­cal projects, has deep roots in the of­fi­cial “gate­way to Muskoka.”

“My great-great-grand­fa­ther Charles Mickle was ac­tu­ally the mayor, twice, and he had a large sawmill up there, and that was how Graven­hurst be­came known as Saw­dust City,” she ex­plains. “He was very sup­port­ive of the arts and de­cided to put an opera house on the main street. Peo­ple thought he was crazy, and they called it Mickle’s Folly. But 150 years later, it’s still there, and it has some of the best acous­tics in Canada.”

The fes­ti­val runs over a long week­end with venues scat­tered through­out town, in­clud­ing at the some­what new Saw­dust City Brew­ery and the Graven­hurst sum­mer mu­sic barge.

The satur­day evening con­cert fea­tures head­lin­ers Jim Cuddy Band and Har­row Fair and will take place at the Opera House. Other artists par­tic­i­pat­ing in the fes­ti­val in­clude surf gui­tar band C&C Surf Fac­tory (fea­tur­ing Blue Rodeo gui­tarist Colin Cripps), along with Abi­gail Lapell, NQ Ar­buckle, Ben­jamin Her­mann, Justin Rut­ledge and more. “Graven­hurst has been a lit­tle over­looked,” says Mulholland. “It’s billed as the gate­way to Muskoka, and peo­ple tend to shop by the high­way and take off to their cot­tages. It’s gong to be amaz­ing to put the spot­light on Graven­hurst.” To that end, Mulholland supplied us with her top five lo­cal spots to check out while in town for the fes­ti­val: Curry’s Mu­sic. “My last time there I bought an old cook­book, vi­o­lin strings, some vinyl and I think I bought a dress. They have ev­ery­thing in there. It’s amaz­ing.” The Bak­ery. “They make th­ese Chelsea buns, and they are the most de­li­cious thing on the whole planet. My cousin used to swim over in the morn­ing and swim back with them in a bag.” Peter’s Play­ers. “It’s an in­ti­mate venue, and they get re­ally big acts like Ron Sex­smith and Joel Plas­kett.” The Seg­wun. “It’s a steamship, very fa­mous. The Seg­wun is what Graven­hurst is known for and what we have on our beau­ti­ful poster. Oar and Pad­dle. “I love that place. One of the best restau­rants in Muskoka by far.”

Mi­randa Mulholland

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