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Stewart Park Folk Festival

Under a canopy of majestic maple trees, the 20th anniversary Stewart Park Festival in downtown Perth, Ontario brought together an eclectic variety of Canadian & International musicians. The festival’s 30-plus free outdoor concerts international foods & artisans market offered entertainment for all ages.

Walking the streets in this small town during the festival is pure delight. During the day, this heritage town grows from 6000 people to over 15,000 as many wander the streets and parks checking out the many shops, restaraunts & catching all the free live music in the park. Come evening, the streets are full of people walking between the various pubs, each offering live music. (Entry to all venues is a mere $20.00 for the entire weekend) .

Stewart Park Festival offers two stages, set on three islands in the center of Perth. The Main Stage starts Friday afternoon with local teen talent, ending early Sunday evening with jazz, blues or both. The Wendy Laut River Stage is the workshop stage: multiple musicians  are thrown together, and given a topic to follow musicall. Magic happens!

A meandering river winds through the park, low & slow enough for even the oldest listeners to take a wade through. Display tents throughout the park include yoga, drumming, croquet, snakes, face painting and model boat demonstrations for all to participate in.  This festival is run by a small core of dedicated volunteers who meet all year long, and come festival weekend, hundreds of volunteers show up to help with everything from food preparation, backstage hospitality, setting up & moving equipment and transporting musicians from site to site or to their hotels.  An amazing fun festival that all should check out.

Ed note: Check out some of the great players this festival featured in 2010!  Included in the lineup was rising star Jadea Kelly, accompanied by the incomparable David Baxter and friends. They lay down the soundtrack to this brief collage of images from the 2010 festival by covering a gorgeous song by Hamilton’s Lori Yates called Walking Wounded

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