A perfect day for women and song greeted those who came out to see Her Northern Voice, a new festival by the Sudbury Performance Group, focused on women and those who identify as women, and are from Northern Ontario. They also got a chance to check out some local vendors and learn more about the services offered to women who are vulnerable.
“Northern women and northern female artists haven't had an event to showcase all of their talents,” said event organizer Holly Weirmeir. “I think a festival to celebrate crafters and vendors and also musical artists is really important, especially in Sudbury, where there's so much talent and so much musical talent.”
Not only were attendees treated to such musical acts as Patricia Watson, Chantelle Albret and The Easy Company, as well as many others, but there was a vendors’ market as well.
Weirmeir told Sudbury.com that even though the event was an idea she had mulled over since last year, she is a student, and that made it a little hard to think about putting it all together.
“I started thinking about it, but wasn’t really sure how to really make it happen,” she said. “It's my first festival that I planned and it was a little bit nerve wracking, but I'm so thankful to be here and to have this opportunity.
Martine Simon, Manager of the YWCA Sudbury’s programs supporting women who have faced or are facing violence, had a booth at the event, hoping to offer information on what the YWCA and their shelter for women offers those in need. Simon said the event was an excellent chance to let people know that the shelter is a safe place for women and families escaping violence – including escaping from intimate partner violence, human trafficking and elder abuse, to name a few. It’s a place that offers support and housing opportunities for women so they can be in a safer environment moving forward, said Simon.
“It's sad to say that they know some people that might benefit from our services,” said Simon, “but it's nice for them to know that we exist, so we can help.”
The daytime event in Bell Park was free of charge; the evening performance has $20 tickets still available, and it's the chance to see Northern favourite, Crystal Shawanda. You can find more information here.
As for whether this event will grace the shores of Ramsey Lake next year, Weirmeir is hopeful.
“The festival, so far, has gone so well,” she said, “I hope that this is a reoccurring festival and that we can start the trend of Her Northern Voice and that this is just the first annual of many to come.”