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The Chat Room: Ariana Dalie and Craig Smith of Four Winds Music Fest

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After a hugely successful inaugural year, Four Winds Music Fest is back July 12-14, 2024 to present some of Canada’s finest artists in its bucolic setting. This year’s line-up includes Bahamas, Terra Lightfoot, Joel Plaskett, Boy Golden, Great Lake Swimmers, Daniel Romano’s Outfit, Logan Staats, Jerry Leger & The Situation, along with many others.

Staged at the beautiful Riverstone Retreat, just outside of Durham, Ontario, Four Winds Music Fest isn’t just about the music. Attendees can also enjoy a variety of other fun activities throughout the weekend, including yoga sessions, children’s games, African dance and cooking classes, drum circles, and guided tours of the Riverstone Retreat grounds.

Four Winds is the passion project of Ariana Dalie and Craig Smith (also a member of the band Ontarians), who engage in other artistic pursuits through their partnership they call The Happiness Mafia. It’s all part of their mission to bring people together through live music and other family-friendly events.

The pair spoke to us about putting together this years Four Winds Music Fest, and for more info and to purchase weekend or single-day passes go to fourwindsmusicfest.com.

 

You’re going into the second year of Four Winds Festival. What made the first year so successful, and what did you learn that will make this year better?

Ariana: Our passion for music and the desire to create a unique experience for festival-goers led us to focus on the beauty of the location and carefully select activities to enhance it. We offered activities such as yoga, sound baths, drum circles, and garden tours, just to name a few. This year, we’re maintaining the theme, expanding the lineup, adding an extra stage, and introducing Choir Revolution—an interactive group singing session—to give our attendees the feeling of being rock stars.

What inspired you to start the festival in the first place?

Craig: The Happiness Mafia, our live music event and production company, was in its infancy when we began contemplating how to bring music to a wider audience. Our good friend Jeremy Rhodes, Executive Director of Elephant Thoughts, understood this aspiration and graciously extended an offer to partner with us by providing Riverstone Retreat, a campus owned by Elephant Thoughts. We jumped at the opportunity to create and grow Ontario’s new music festival.

Something that makes Four Winds different is definitely its location.

Ariana: Yes, it is an exceptional location situated on the banks of the mighty Saugeen River. The Riverstone Campus is located just five minutes from Durham, Ontario, and spans 136 acres of historic farmstead. The property features diverse forests, hiking trails, agricultural lands, and several indoor and outdoor facilities suitable for events, with overnight accommodations.

This year’s line-up is also a nice mix of established artists and up-and-comers. What was your overall vision in assembling the bill?

Craig: We truly wanted it to be a cultural celebration that highlights the rich diversity and inclusivity of Canada. Our lineup is carefully curated to showcase a wide range of musical genres and cultural influences, reflecting the mosaic of identities that make up our country. From indie rock to world music, there’s something for everyone this year.

Assuming this year’s festival goes well, what do you hope the future holds for Four Winds?

Ariana: Many more years of success!

 

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