Home Feature 5 things to check out at the Northern Lights Festival Boreal Saturday

5 things to check out at the Northern Lights Festival Boreal Saturday

Richard Inman. Photo by Heather Kitching.

Northern Lights Festival Boreal got underway yesterday in Sudbury, and Marcia McVean is out there now, watching and writing up reports for us.

While she does that, allow me to step in and draw your attention to some fantastic stuff coming up tomorrow, the first full-day of festival happenings.

Here are five things you don’t want to miss:

Adrian Sutherland – 2 p.m. on the CBC Acoustic Stage

Adrian released his debut solo album, When the Magic Hits, in 2021 after rising to prominance as the leader of the Attiwapiskat-based roots rock band Midnight Shine, which got worldwide attention for its cover of Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold” sung partly in Cree. The songwriting chops that Adrian brought to Midnight Shine are evident on his solo album and on his newest single, “Better,” both of which are particularly notable for their stirring melodic hooks. Adrian’s music is deeply evocative, and getting to see him playing a solo acoustic set will no doubt allow audience members to connect that much more profoundly with his messages.

Workshop: Festival of Friends – 2 p.m. on the Main Stage

Now herein lays the problem at festivals: sometimes you have no choice but to miss something because too many good things are happening at once (helpful tip: Adrian is also playing Sunday at 2:00, though you’ll have to miss the Blues Across Borders workshop to see him then). This workshop is one of the most interesting-looking ones on this year’s schedule. The premise: everyone writes songs about romances. How ’bout some songs about friends? Good point! The workshop features Valdy, Stef Paquette, The Cloves and Sheesham & Lotus & ‘Son.

Workshop: Melodic Progressions – 4 p.m. on the CBC Acoustic Stage

This workshop really gets to the heart of why most of us listen to music in the first place: it helps us get through life. Sometimes it helps to put into words feelings that we’ve been having trouble processing. Sometimes the music itself helps alter our state of mind in ways that help us keep moving. This workshop features three artists – Adrian Sutherland, Tasheena Sarazin and Kate Maki – exploring the theme through their own music.

Richard Inman – 6:30 p.m. on the Main Stage

The moment Richard Inman opens his mouth to sing, the hairs on my arms stand on end. His melancholy, old school country music is filled with vivid imagery of scrawling song lyrics on gas station receipts and sneaking beers behind the car at the home of relatives who disapprove of alcohol. But those images also form part of emotion-laden larger narratives about the imperfect family gatherings that we nonetheless start to long for as we get older, and the way that grief over lost relationships drags us down as we go about our daily lives. Richard is an authentic being in every sense of the word, and I loved seeing him showcase at Folk Music Ontario a few years ago because he did not attempt to hide his disdain for industry events or industry pretense. “I’m not on the internet,” he said, “so if you want to reach me, you’re going to have to do it the old fashioned way.” (Or something like that. The memory fades over the years).

Angelique Francis – 9:30 p.m on the Main Stage

Angelique Francis has been absolutely on fire this past year, hosting the Maple Blues Awards, then winning the Juno for Blues Album of the Year for her sophomore album, Long River. And believe me when I say, that album doesn’t even do justice to her electrifying live show, which bursts with energy and virtuoso musicianship.




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