The off-again, on-again relationship between music festivals and provincial health mandates has made planning difficult. But as Ontario approaches an ideal 85% vaccination rate, festival producers are hoping to make next summer the bounce-back of the century.
A good example is the folks behind Westben. Located in Northumberland County, two hours east of Toronto in cottage country, they have released details of their 23rd Season, including an impressive list of 70+ artists.
What they’re looking forward to most
- Spoken word by Curve Lake First Nations Poet Laureate Sarah Lewis
- David Maracle, who lives on the Yendinaga Mohawk Territory, uses spectacular stone carving and music around the Westben Campfire to bring the Haudenosaunee People’s traditional teachings to life.
- On Willow Hill, local performers Natalie MacMaster, Joel Plaskett, William Prince, and Eve Parker Finley will perform, while The Barn will feature Ofra Harnoy, Barbra Lica, Carol Welsman, Karina Gauvin, Queer Songbook Orchestra, Brian Finley, OKAN, Michael Kaeshammer, Mary Walsh, and Canadian Brass.
- In The Barn and on Willow Hill, the Broadway musical ABBA Mia will have you dancing in your seats.
New this year
Westben constructed two additional outdoor venues in 2021 in order to provide their audience with even more outside freedom. Willow Hill is a grassy amphitheatre north of The Barn, surrounded by a pond and a large willow tree.
Westben replaced the first section of seats with movable ones in 2021 to provide for a safer patron experience. They also added new circulation fans. There’s a new Campfire venue, for a more intimate experience with music, stories, and campfire treats like smores and baked brie.
Spanning classical, Broadway, jazz, folk, pop, fiddle, rock, opera, and comedy, the festival will take place July 1-31, 2022.
Tickets are now on sale to Members until January 31 and to the General Public February 1. Full details at westben.ca.
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