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River & Sky running mini festival this weekend as Ontario COVID cases on the wane

The July 16-17 festival is smaller than usual, but director says everyone ‘stoked’ to be back
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A scene from the 2018 edition of River & Sky. After a 2020 pandemic hiatus, the festival is back for 2021. (File)

With COVID-19 cases on the wane in Ontario, the River and Sky Music and Camping Festival is back and happening this coming weekend, July 16 and 17, once again located at Fisher’s Paradise in West Nipissing. 

While the planning of the event has kept organizers on their toes, festival director Abigail Cassio told Sudbury.com that everyone is “stoked” to be back.

While this should be Cassio’s second season as director of the event, the cancellation of the 2020 festival means that this will actually be her first. 

Cassio said that while the team was dedicated to planning, it was hard to work with the ever-changing lockdown requirements. 

“Lots of contingency plans, and a lot of needing to go with the flow of things,” said Cassio. “We’ve been planning it for so long, yet somehow still at the last minute.”

There are still capacity limitations in pace, though the province will be entering Step 3 of the reopening plan on July 16 — the first night of the festival. 

Tickets are limited, but there are some still available and the River and Sky organizers ask that anyone who plans to attend read their booking information carefully to ensure that everyone can be safe and happy. 

There is a vaccination requirement — at least the first dose — and masks must be worn while viewing the bands, but not at the campground. 

The bands and musicians playing are an interesting mix of returning favourites, new and upcoming acts and local bands as well. 

Headliners for the show are Haviah Mighty (which is new to the festival) and Sam Coffey and the Iron Lungs, who have played the festival before.

Other acts include: Helena Deland; The OBGM’s; Witch Prophet; Kiwi Jr.; Spencer Burton; Kristian North; Bon Enfant; Population II; Supertoke; and Fauxcils. 

Also for 2021 are local musicians G.R. Gritt and Bryden Gwiss Kiwenzie. Both are Indiegnous artists who were profiled as part of Sudbury.com’s New Music Mondays. You can read more about G.R. Gritt here and more about Bryden Gwiss Kiwenzie, here.   

“The artists are stoked to play,” said Cassio. 

“Though many of the bands have put together videos or had online concerts over the last 16 months, for many, this is the first show in some time. I’m sure they’ve done live streams, but it's not the same as a live performance. They all are very excited.”

If you are too, head to riverandsky.ca to find out more. 



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Jenny Lamothe

About the Author: Jenny Lamothe

Jenny Lamothe is a reporter at Sudbury.com. She covers the Black, Indigenous, immigrant and Francophone communities.
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