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Music legend returns to Festival Boréal

By: Heidi Ulrichsen - Sudbury Northern Life

 | Apr 22, 2014 - 2:04 PM |
Bruce Cockburn is the Saturday headliner at this year's Northern Lights Festival Boréal. Supplied photo.

Bruce Cockburn is the Saturday headliner at this year's Northern Lights Festival Boréal. Supplied photo.

Bruce Cockburn joins stellar lineup for 42nd annual event

A Canadian music legend is Saturday's headliner at the 42nd annual Northern Lights Festival Boréal, which runs July 4-6 at at the Bell Park amphitheatre.

Over the past four decades, Bruce Cockburn has won 11 Juno Awards and been nominated for 20 more. He's known for such songs as “Lovers in a Dangerous Time,” “Wondering Where the Lions Are,” and “The Coldest Night of the Year.”

Paul Loewenberg, the festival's long-time artistic director, said it'll be great to have Cockburn back at Boréal. He previously played at the festival in 1998.


While Cockburn is there to promote his 31st album, “Small Source of Comfort,” Loewenburg said he's looking forward to hearing some of his hit singles, and just watching him work his genius with his guitar.

Boréal's young executive director, 28-year-old Max Merrifield, said although Cockburn is definitely of a different generation, he's a big fan of his songwriting.

“A lot of people would say Bruce Cockburn is an act that appeals to an older audience, but there's a lot of young people out there that know his tunes,” he said.

The other two headliners are Tokyo Police Club (Friday) and Wintersleep (Sunday).
Loewenberg, who manages the Townehouse Tavern, said he's watched both bands mature over the years. He used to book them to play at the bar in front of small audiences and they're headlining major music festivals.

Tokyo Police Club is an indie rock band from Newmarket, Ont.

Wintersleep, whose members hail from Halifax, is also an indie rock band. They have released five highly-acclaimed albums, one of which scored them a Juno in 2008.

But there's more to the festival than the headliners, Loewenberg said. There's “a huge range of artists playing world music, old-time mountain music, indie rock, singer-songwriters, the best of our new local scene,” he said.

He considers booking Melbourne Ska Orchestra something of a coup. Ordinarily it would be far to expensive to fly the large Australian group here to play, but they happened to be playing Canadian music festivals this summer.

The festival also features many local artists, including En Bref, Sea Perry Patrick Wright et les Gauchistes, Matt Foy, Brian Dunn and Kevin Closs.

It also has Aboriginal content in Wikwemikong, Ont. native and 2013 Juno winner Crystal Shawanda and George Leach of Lillooet, B.C.

In booking Cindy Cook, a Sudbury native who was the long-time host of Polka Dot Door, organizers catered to families with young children as well.

Beyond music, Boréal is teaming up with the local community arts group Myths and Mirrors to co-ordinate the arts village, where artists will create on-the-spot art, said Merrifield.

Fibre artists will use yarn to do “decorative wrapping” of trees and other objects on the festival grounds, transforming it into a “musical artistic fantasyland.”

This year, Boréal organizers are hoping to reach beyond the usual Sudbury crowds, and attract out-of-town tourists. Merrifield said they've been marketing in music publications and blogs.

“We want to get the word out across the country,” he said.

For more information, visit www.nflbsudbury.com.
Heidi Ulrichsen

Heidi Ulrichsen

Staff Writer

@heidi_ulrichsen

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