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Blue Rodeo, Jeff Healey headline 2006 NLFB

BY COLE RIVARD for northern life Canadian folk-rock mainstays Blue Rodeo will be one of the headline acts at this year's Northern Lights Festival Boreal.
John Newlands and his Sudbury band, The Spontanes, will grace the Northern Lights stage for the first time this summer.

for northern life

Canadian folk-rock mainstays Blue Rodeo will be one of the headline acts at this year's Northern Lights Festival Boreal.

Blue Rodeo last appeared at the NLFB in 1997 to a sold-out crowd, and the band is expected to repeat history this year. The group is one of Canada's most successful bands. They have sold more than 10 million albums worldwide and have won a number of Canadian music awards including seven Junos and seven SOCAN Awards.

They will be headlining Sunday July 9, the closing day of the festival.

"There's a ton of great acts this year that I'm looking forward to seeing,"  said Tina Siegel, the NLFB's marketing director.

The official line-up for the 35th Annual Northern Lights Festival Boreal was announced at a news conference at the Market Square Tuesday. The festival will take place July 7, 8 and 9.

"I'm excited about Blue Rodeo, I'm excited about Alun Piggins and The Quitters,” said Siegel. “There's a whole bunch of great-sounding acts, and I hope I get the chance to hear them all."

John Newlands, who will be making his first appearance at the NLFB this year with his Sudbury band, The Spontanes, is excited about his chance to shine at the event.

“To be performing at the Northern Lights Festival this year is a wonderful opportunity,” said Newlands. “The festival is the musical event of the year, and I'm happy to be part of it. There's always a lot of great talent.”

Every year, NLFB hosts  an event called Meltdown, which gives local musicians and artists a chance to claim a spot at the festival. This year, local acts The Rubes, Marty Smets, Dwayne Trudeau and M19 have managed to secure positions at the festival.

"With this year's Meltdown event, we had some amazing talent show up," said Siegel. "We were only supposed to take three acts, but the four we chose were so great, we just couldn't decide."

The festival's Saturday night will be dedicated to jazz legend Jackie Washington.

Washington  will be taking part in the festival for the 22nd time, more than any other performer. He has performed with the likes of Duke Ellington, Joni Mitchell, and Lionel Hampton.

Jeff Healey, along with his band the Jazz Wizards, will be featured as the special host for the night.

Zuul's Evil Disco, often toted as the world's most dangerous funk band, will be another headliner, playing the festival's opening night, among the 43 acts performing on five stages at this year's festival.

Alt-country group November All-Stars and Mike Ford, formally of multi-platinum recording artists Moxy Fruvous, will be headlining Friday's show.

Winnipeg bluegrass/punk outfit The D. Rangers' outrageous performances include a musical saw and a "muck bucket" bass, which is made from a plastic tube, old lumber and two rope strings.

The festival is guaranteed to have something for everyone, with street performers, visual artists and children's performers backing the music that is central to the folk festival.

Last year's event was a resounding success, drawing more than 15,000 people over the course of the weekend. This year's festival is expected to surpass that.

Tickets for the event are currently available. They will run for $16 for the Friday night, $22 for Saturday and $27 for Sunday. Weekend passes are available for $54 for the general public, or $45 for NLFB members.

Tickets can be purchased through the festival office by phone at 674-5512, or through the office location at 109 Elm St.


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