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'People are going to be stoked': Arkells, Joel Plaskett on NLFB 2018 lineup

Sudbury's annual folk festival includes a Thursday evening for second year

There's an all-Canadian lineup of headliners at this year's Northern Lights Festival Boréal, which runs July 5-8 in Bell Park.

That includes award-winning rock band Arkells on Thursday, banjoist and singer-songwriter Lisa LeBlanc on Friday, indie pop band Alvvays on Saturday and father-and-son team Bill and Joel Plaskett on Sunday.   

“I think people are going to be stoked with a lineup like we've put together,” said the festival's artistic executive director, Max Merrifield, speaking at the festival's lineup launch April 24.

“It would be impossible for many people not to be super excited about the festival this year, at least that's how I feel.”

Other acts among the 55 or so to be featured in this year's edition of Northern Lights are Cree and Dene pop and electronic music singer Iskwé, Canadian rock band Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet (best known for penning the theme to “The Kids in the Hall”), Nigerian music veteran Orlando Julius, and veteran Canadian folk singer-songwriter Connie Kaldor.

“To me, folk music is not just white people playing banjos,” Merrifield said. “It's all types of of music from all over the world, traditional forms of music, and music that reinterprets that.

“That's where we're going with the programming, and that's why you see all this great African music in there and a lot of great multicultural stuff.”

There's also plenty of local content, including Guitars Alive Quartet (who treated those at the lineup launch to a performance), Matt Foy, JoPo & The Rize, Edouard Landry, Black Bull Moose Singers and BBBRTHR.

Two emerging acts also won a paid spot on the festival's lineup through the annual Meltdown Competition — Latin musician David Cordero, who's from Mexico and is a recent Sudbury resident, and alternative rock band The Keyframes.

For the second year in a row, the music festival will include Thursday night programming. Merrifield said he's been able to do this thanks to government grants and the support of festival patrons.

“When we introduced the Thursday component last year, it was clear that people wanted it, people loved it,” he said. “We got so many comments on it and we decided to try to bring it back this year.”

Merrifield encourages people who may be coming out to hear headliners such as the Arkells to stay and discover music that's new to them.

“It's just a great time, a great party and a great celebration,” he said.

More on Northern Lights' lineup can be found on its website, also livestreamed the lineup announcement Tuesday morning, and you can replay that here.

Tickets and info can be found at Weekend passes are staying at $90 until July 5. Kids under 14 can enter for free and weekend passes for students/youth are only $60.


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