Did you see that show at the beer tent?

By: Wanda Westover

Did you see that show at the beer tent?

Tags: Owen Sound, home, house, local, community, village, entertainment, artists, musicians, music, live shows, culture, arts, travel, outdoors, Ontario, pride, love, summerfolk, festival, music, family


Every year, on the third weekend of August, you will find thousands of people listening, dancing, singing, eating, drinking, THCing, swimming and many other -ings on the shores of Georgian Bay.  This annual Owen Sound event that draws so many is the Summerfolk Music and Crafts festival (locally know as "Summertoke":)) and I have had the honour to know it now for over 25 years.
Buffy Sainte-Marie
Crowd-surfing in the Down by the Bay tent.
Serena Ryder on the main stage.
My first Summerfolk experience happened years ago when a friend offered me a free ticket.  I went with few expectations.  I was blown away.  So much so that I wrote a very complimentary letter to the Georgian Bay Folk Society that they printed in their newsletter.
Matt Andersen and Monkey Junk.
Performers enjoying the water at Kelso Beach.
This first experience inspired me to get involved in the organization when I joined the GBFS board the following year.  This opened my eyes to how much goes into running the festival.  It also gave me my first opportunity to photograph the festival.  Those photos are likely somewhere in the GBFS office, but I'd rather not find them:).
Danny Michel and Steve Poltz celebrating Summerfolk?
After my involvement on the Board, I returned as a Summerfolk patron for the next number of festivals.  But I always had the idea of photographing the festival again (now that I thought I knew what I was doing) in the back of my mind.  So I kept asking if I could.
Ezra Idlet of Trout Fishing in America enjoying his daughter's performance.
Trevor Mackenzie playing on the Down by the Bay tent stage.
In 2010, I finally had my chance.  I photographed the festival, gave the GBFS a CD of the images when it was over and said thank you, thinking I was done.
Shakura S'aida captivating a young fan on the main stage.
My Son The Hurricane riding the Summerfolk audience.
Two years later, while on a trip documenting a medical mission in Nicaragua, I received a Facebook message from James Keelaghan, Summerfolk's Artistic Director, asking if the photos on the CD he found were mine.  When I told him they were, he immediately invited me to shoot the festival again.  It's now six years later and I am still photographing the festival and loving it.
The Summerfolk finale.
The photos in this story are some of my favourites from the last six years.

But I am confident that I will have new favourites now that the weekend is over.  That's just what Summerfolk does.  

Come find out why next third weekend in August.

For more information on the festival and to get tickets at early-bird prices, visit www.summerfolk.org.

John Fearnall
Good Noise

All images are property of John Fearnall/Good Noise