Turn­ing fo­cus

Salmon Fes­ti­val shift­ing to­ward a com­mu­nity-wide event

The Western Star - - CLOSE TO HOME - NI­CHOLAS MERCER THE CEN­TRAL VOICE ni­[email protected]­cen­tralvoice.ca

Change is in­evitable.

And the Ex­ploits Val­ley Salmon Fes­ti­val in Grand Fall­sWind­sor is no ex­cep­tion.

In re­cent years, the an­tic­i­pated fes­ti­val had be­come more focused about putting on a big show at the Cen­ten­nial Field com­plex while other parts of the event slipped out of fo­cus.

That is about to change, and one of the sched­uled per­form­ers is look­ing for­ward to see­ing it un­fold.

The 2019 ver­sion of the fes­ti­val is sched­uled to run from July 11 to 15 and fea­ture a host of new ac­tiv­i­ties aimed at fos­ter­ing a sense of com­mu­nity spirit and show­cas­ing ev­ery­thing Grand Falls-Wind­sor has to of­fer.

Gone is the big show­case con­cert with a high-pro­file act. In its place is a sched­uled packed with mu­si­cal acts and other ac­tiv­i­ties.

“It is some­thing that had to hap­pen,” said Grand Fall­sWind­sor na­tive and per­former Chris Feener. “It is a su­per tran­si­tion for the fes­ti­val.

The fes­ti­val had been in fi­nan­cial tur­moil for some time and those high-pro­file acts cost the town some­where in the

$100,000 range.

It was no longer fea­si­ble to con­tinue throw­ing good money af­ter bad, so to speak.

Feener and his Chis Feener Band — a work­ing ti­tle if there ever was one ac­cord­ing to the

gui­tarist — will be a part of the a sta­dium show at the Joe Byrne Me­mo­rial Sta­dium along with Rum Ragged, Earl and Cof­fin, Mal­lory John­son and the Ir­ish De­scen­dants.

It is an eclec­tic group that is sure to ap­peal to a wide range of mu­sic go­ers.

How­ever, the con­cert isn’t the only thing of­fi­cials want you to fo­cus on. There is a wing night, pub crawl, paint night at Gorge Park, a song writer’s circle and other events jammed into the short five-day win­dow.

In all, there are 28 acts from across the province set to de­scend

“It is some­thing that had to hap­pen. It is a su­per tran­si­tion for the fes­ti­val.”

Chris Feener Per­former

on the com­mu­nity, which is work­ing with Mu­sic NL to make it hap­pen.

While there are plans for Feener’s band to come up with a dif­fer­ent name in the fu­ture, right now it is just a stop­gap for a group of mu­si­cians who have cut their teeth in groups around the province.

He has Fair­gale vo­cal­ist An­drew Rodgers, gui­tarist Ja­son Sheppard and Sheavy drum­mer Ja­son Wil­liams, along with bassist Jimmy West­cott in tow for this new edi­tion of the salmon fes­ti­val.

CON­TRIB­UTED

Grand Falls-Wind­sor na­tive Chris Feener is look­ing for­ward to bring­ing a col­lec­tion of sta­dium rock hits to this year’s Ex­ploits Val­ley Salmon Fes­ti­val be­ing held in Grand Falls-Wind­sor.

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