Festival season brings something for all

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Buried in sand at Burgeo. Testing the mettle of your endurance on the Long Range traverse. Catching the surf at Cape Ray. Listening to the sound of waves and wind at Mainland. Talking “viking” in L’anse aux Meadows.

There’s no one that can say western Newfoundland has nothing to see or things to do. From the mild hike to the jagged terrain, from the adventurous spirit to the patient traveller, there’s truly something for everyone.

Now, as festival season (not to be confused with construction season) is upon us, there is another long list of activities, destinations and events to take in.

In addition to the community festivals, which are sure to delight newcomers and area expats, the ongoing festivals focused on the arts bring with them a completely different entertainment, versatile enough to appeal to most interests.

In Corner Brook, Gros Morne Summer Music has brought with it programming in all genres of music that goes unmatched anywhere in the province. For those wanting to get away from the rubber boots and Plastic Paddies that have been commonplace with the tourism industry, Gros Morne Summer Music offers the obvious alternative, and never fails to do it well. The group also has a fix of regular gigs in the national park area itself to appease locals and visitors.

Also in the city, the Stage West Theatre Festival continues to succeed in offering city audiences a quality summer festival, complete with variety and punch. The festival shows are largely accessible to all audiences but the volunteer group doesn’t shy away from more poignant pieces that flex their muscle and maintain their sense of artistic integrity.

In Cow Head, Theatre Newfoundland Labrador’s Gros Morne Theatre Festival continues to delight locals and tourists alike with a myriad of shows that also offer mass appeal. From the musical dinner theatres to the dark and delicious drama, the confines of the Warehouse Theatre always feature an array of quality entertainment.

In addition to the side serving of celebration that goes with Writers at Woody Point, the literary festival consistently brings with it the country’s top authors in one of the province’s most breathtaking regions. The south side of Bonne Bay comes alive in August with the writers’ festival, whose jubilant atmosphere can only be explained through a visit. The breadth of this festival has spanned well beyond a celebration of the written word.

Tonight, the area’s longest-serving event, the Stephenville Theatre Festival, begins another anticipated season with music, theatre and even a folk opera. New artistic director Lois Brown will quickly put her mark on the festival and the people of the area are excited to see what she has to offer. Stephenville has built a lot of its following around music in the recent past, and this year will whet that yearning for those looking to be entertained through song.

And this is only a scrape on the surface of what’s happening.

Sure, the myopic among us will complain of what we have to offer. The lazy will stay glued to the latest releases from Netflix and the naysayers will tell us it’s not worth stepping outside the door.

If you haven’t been to either, now’s the time. Make your summer as much about these festivals as it is about sunshine, or trips to the beach or cabin.

Go to a festival so you don’t have to hear later about how much you missed this year.

Organizations: Stage West Theatre, Gros Morne Theatre, Warehouse Theatre Stephenville Theatre

Geographic location: Newfoundland, Long Range, Cape Ray Corner Brook Cow Head Woody Point Bonne Bay

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  • A. Aguathuna
    July 11, 2014 - 21:14

    The Nobleman's Wedding, now mercifully finishing its final act, is an exercise in hackneyed tedium mixed liberally with fairy tale feminism and amateur singing. Pamela Morgan should consider having the band do the singing with her as a most able lead singer, while the cast speak conventional lines.