Five years ago, a small army of like minded people from around the Interlake and Winnipeg ventured to the southwestern shores of Lake Winnipeg, to help create the first Matlock Festival of Music, Art and Nature.
Those who volunteered that first year, and the patrons who attended the event, shared a passion for awesome music, great art, natural spaces and healthy living. Many were also inspired by the significant mentoring of young artists and musicians that occurred, along with the health and wellness workshops, and the nature-based activities that were offered.
“What started out as a small festival on a pristine 45-acres of tall grass prairie, forest and wetland, has grown into the signature summer event in this area, where people come from far and wide to experience community building at its finest,” says the festival’s executive director, Cheryl Cohan.
This weekend (August 22 – 24, 2014), Matlock Festival of Music, Art and Nature will once again touch the lives of hundreds of Manitobans, brought together by their commitment to create a flourishing community, and by their love of nature, music and art.
The festival, which is located on Ash Avenue in beautiful Matlock, about a 35-minute drive north of Winnipeg, features a diverse lineup of performers of all genres including folk, blues, classic rock and roll, bluegrass, choral, and ukulele choirs.
While live music will be happening on two separate stages (Main Stage and Campground Stage) from Friday evening to Sunday evening, workshops on art, music, environmental sustainability, health, birding and the like, along with opportunities for mentoring and plenty of family fun, will be showcased all weekend long.
Patrons can take part in Laughter Yoga or Chi Gong, and learn how to play slide guitar or design their very own fairy garden house.
The land itself on which the festival is held, is also an attraction for many friends, family and community members who, throughout the year, often drop in to visit and stay to soak up the peace and quiet along with the wonder of flowers and bird songs, foxes, deer and the enormous night sky.
The largest meditative labyrinth in the province has been maintained on this property for many years, along with a tee pee and some lodges where traditional teachings will be offered.
In addition, a memorial grove dedicated to the memory of Alex “Dee” Danyliuk has been planted with over a 100 trees (and more to be planted on the weekend), celebrating the life and music of this young, local musician and friend of the festival, who passed away last year as he was jogging in Vimy Ridge Park in Winnipeg.
To keep the festival running strong, the non-profit event has an integral volunteer team that pitches in and helps run the festival over the weekend and during the year.
The volunteer crews are reinforced in a special way by 50 to 75 new Canadians, some who have been in Canada just a few short weeks and others who have been here for a few years. They participate in the Matlock Festival through the Seven Oaks School Division’s Neighbourhood Immigrant Settlement Program.
These volunteers help out in countless ways at the festival, and in turn gain valuable experience in what it’s like to attend and help run a community / grassroots event, inspired by the tight-knit family that is the Matlock Festival board and team of essential volunteers.
“Some of the participants will be coming back to the Festival for a third year in a row,” says Fran Taylor, a Matlock Festival board member who has helped facilitate this new Canadian initiative at the Festival since 2012.
“It’s such an incredible experience for them to be a part of this kind of event that showcases the natural beauty of rural Manitoba and the positive impact of community building and mentorship. It’s an ideal event to show newcomers to our province the benefits of grassroots initiatives and the value of collective efforts that help make community flourish.”
Weekend admission (Friday to Sunday) is $40. Camping is an additional $10. Day rates are $10 for Friday, $25 for Saturday and $20 for Sunday.
Tickets can be purchased at Blue Rooster in Winnipeg Beach, at Wolseley Wardrobe in Winnipeg, online at matlockfestival.ca and at the Main Gate during the festival.
If you are interested in getting involved with the festival or volunteering contact firstname.lastname@example.org
All photos by Richard Webb and Noah Erenberg