The weekend local music lovers have been waiting for all year is back again. Now in its 43rd year, Northern Lights Festival Boréal runs in Bell Park July 3-5.
Northern Lights' Friday headliner will be familiar to those who attended last year's event. The Melbourne Ska Orchestra, a 26-piece Australian contemporary ska big band, was invited back for the second year in a row.
“You've never seen 2,000 people dancing with such joy,” said Northern Lights artistic director Paul Loewenberg at the festival's April launch.
“People from two to 90 years old were dancing in the aisles. There was not a person in the seats when the Melbourne Ska Orchestra is on.”
The Saturday headliner is singer-songwriter Sarah Harmer. The multiple Juno nominee and gold and platinum selling musician's sound touches on folk and indie rock, as well as bluegrass and country.
She's also an environmental activist, working with Protecting Escarpment Rural Lands (PERL) while continuing to perform and write. The festival's Sunday headliner is Dan Mangan + Blacksmith. He's a two-time Juno award-winning musician who's been featured across the country as a festival headliner.
“This will be his first time in Sudbury, so I'm very excited to present this artist, who is fast becoming one of Canada's great indie rock champions,” said Loewenberg.
Also on the bill for this year's festival are Lee Harvey Osmond, Quique Escamilla, J.P. Cormier, Five Alarm Funk, Adonis Puentes, The Bombadils, Les Poules a Colin, Pistol George Warren, House of David Gang, Jayme Stone's Alan Lomax Project, Night Terrors, Alfie Smith, Bustamento and Drumhand.
Northern Lights also features many local acts, including Dayv Poulin, Edouard Landry, Billy John & The Irish Wake, Sean Barrette, Tuba Boy, The Wild Geese, Hello Holiday and Lisa Marie Naponse.
The festival isn’t just about music, though. Besides the usual kids' activities and food and craft vendors, this year organizers have planned a major boost to the visual arts element of the event.
Expect to see painters creating alongside musical performances, artists at work on various projects, as well as stilting and other circus-style performance arts.
A life-sized statue of Stompin' Tom Connors created by local sculptor Tyler Fauvelle will also be unveiled at the festival at 7:30 p.m. July 3.
For the festival's full lineup, or to purchase tickets, visit nlfbsudbury.com.