Arts, music festival coming to Killarney

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With COVID-19 restrictions easing up across the province, the Killarney Turtle Mountain Arts Council is using the opportunity to debut its first annual Sights and Sounds arts and music festival from Aug. 20-22.

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This article was published 12/08/2021 (369 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

With COVID-19 restrictions easing up across the province, the Killarney Turtle Mountain Arts Council is using the opportunity to debut its first annual Sights and Sounds arts and music festival from Aug. 20-22.

According to the council’s official Facebook page, this new festival will feature a variety of renowned Manitoba musicians and performers, including the likes of Al Simmons, Lucien Spence, jonny moonbeam, Del Barber, Desiree Dorion and the Fubuki Daiko drumming group.

This three-day affair will also feature an artisan market consisting of 20 tables, where Westman vendors will get the chance to sell their wares outside Killarney’s Heritage Home for the Arts.

File Members of the Chris Ghidoni Band perform on the deck of the Heritage Home for the Arts in Killarney on July 12. This concert was one of the first in-person events that the Killarney Turtle Mountain Arts Council organized in over a year and served as a test run for the upcoming Sights and Sounds arts and music festival.

Gallery administrator Jane Ireland told the Sun on Wednesday that this festival will be the council’s biggest public event since the pandemic hit the province in March 2020.

For the past 17 months, the council has been forced to organize mostly online musical performances for patrons and forgo their usual in-person events due to public health concerns.

“We haven’t been able to do our usual Performing Arts series during the year,” Ireland said. “So we decided to take some of that budget and try to look at doing a festival instead where we could bring a whole bunch of different artists in to create something hopefully a little special.”

File Indigenous country singer-songwriter Lucien Spence, from Long Plain First Nation, is scheduled to close out the Killarney Turtle Mountain Arts Council's Sights and Sounds arts and music festival, which takes place Aug. 20-22.

Ireland said that the council has been talking about organizing something like Sights and Sounds since June, when the province’s vaccine uptake and daily COVID case count looked increasingly promising.

In July, the council decided to gauge the community’s appetite for attending in-person events again by putting together a pair of outdoor concerts featuring acts like the Chris Ghidoni Band and the Indigo Trio.

Based on the positive feedback they received from these two events, Ireland and her team decided to take this format and expand it to include several days’ worth of attractions and activities.

File Al Simmons is also scheduled to perform at the Sights and Sounds festival alongside performers such as Desiree Dorion and the Fubuki Daiko drumming group.

“This was a chance to not only get our artists working again, but also a chance just for everybody to be able to do something that felt normal, but in a very safe way,” she said.

As such, the Sights and Sounds festival will still be subject to the usual health and safety protocols, including physical distancing, constant sanitization and required mask use for attendees.

“I think they need to know that we are requiring people to have masks until they sit in their groups,” Ireland specified. “And again, we are going to ask them to spread themselves out to six feet between groups.”

However, attendance will not be limited to those who have been fully vaccinated, which was a requirement put in place for the council’s July 10 showcase of the Chris Ghidoni Band.

Outside of the novelty of seeing live music again, Ireland believes that the festival’s lineup provides a nice variety of musical styles that will appeal to a broad spectrum of people, including families.

“If you have kids, Sunday is the day to come,” she said.

“Because not only do you get Al Simmons, but you also get Fubuki Daiko, who are Japanese drummers, and kids love that.”

Even if live music isn’t your thing, Ireland encourages Westman residents to come and at least browse the artisan market and reconnect with some day-to-day activities that have become exceedingly rare in the age of COVID.

“I think if you want to have your first time out, this would be a good place to do it because it’s outside and you’re in the open air and that all helps,” she said.

To view a full schedule for the upcoming Sights and Sounds arts and music festival, visit killarneyarts.com or the Killarney Turtle Mountain Arts Council’s official Facebook page.

» kdarbyson@brandonsun.com

» Twitter:@KyleDarbyson

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