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Summer is coming: NLFB announces headliners

Sudbury Living Magazine February 29, 2016 Arts No Comments on Summer is coming: NLFB announces headliners

Northern Lights Festival Lineup to Feature Natalie MacMaster & Donnell Leahy.

 Northern Lights Festival Boréal is well into the planning of a blowout 45th edition, to take place July 8, 9, and 10 in Bell Park. The 44th edition, held in 2015, was in many ways the best in years, with near-record attendance of over 10,200, a record number of vendors, and unforgettable performances by over 50 acts including the Melbourne Ska Orchestra, Sarah Harmer, and many more.

As always, this year’s festival will feature a diverse lineup of performers ranging from Canadian legends to the undiscovered masters, from roots to experimental, from tradition to innovation. Organizers are ecstatic to be able to announce a few acts that have been confirmed for July. Of course, many more are to come, and a full lineup announcement is planned for the spring.

Having both played the festival on their own, Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy will headline together Saturday July 9th. Both have headlined the festival before; Natalie MacMaster is a globally acclaimed Canadian legend and is one of the world’s top fiddlers while Donnell Leahy is the incendiary musical leader of the double-platinum selling family band Leahy. The pair are happily married, bringing together two of the ‘royal families’ of east coast music. With roots planted deep in Cape Breton Island, this fierce fiddling duo couple command the stage with an explosive celebration of raw energy and passion that infuses their traditional heritage with their taste for the contemporary. The ‘first couple of contemporary celtic music’ will be performing songs from “One”, (prod. by Bob Ezrin) their recording debut as a duo, as well as a selection of reinterpretations from their expansive catalogue of celtic music.

On the theme of couples making music together, Northern Lights Festival Boréal is proud to welcome back the duo of Kate Maki and Fred Squire to the festival. Fred Squire has been making an impact on Canadian music since the early 90’s, with collaborators including Shotgun Jimmie, Julie Doiron and Daniel Romano. Kate Maki is from Sudbury and has released 5 albums since 2003, receiving much critical praise for her alt-country stylings . After getting married following a tour, they’ve settled in Copper Cliff to raise a family. Lucky for us, they never stopped writing music. Maki’s upcoming 6th album Head In The Sand, is to be released in May 2016, with Squire’s new record following shortly after.

After a brief hiatus from NLFB due to being on tour in Europe, Sheesham and Lotus are back! The ‘new kings of old time’ have been a staple at the festival over the years, with their energetic performances and fascinating workshops. They walk, talk, dress, play and sing like they stepped out of the 1920s, and onto a festival stage. On top of their scheduled performances and workshops, look for them throughout the festival site and at the General Store open stage as they serve as the unofficial mascots of the weekend.

Francophone songwriters Melanie Brulée (Cornwall) & Anique Granger (Saskatoon) have both released albums in the past year (Débridée and Comme une émeute, respectively) and have toured together across Canada. Neither are strangers to Sudbury, but they will be hitting the NLFB stages for the first time. Also familiar with Sudbury (but new to the festival) is Toronto bluegrass combo Union Duke. A few house concerts, and a well received slot at Vale’s summer concert series last summer have given them a taste for Sudbury. This summer they will touring their upcoming record Golden Days. Of course, NLFB has always been a family friendly event, and we’d be remiss if we didn’t announce the return of beloved children’s entertainer Cindy Cook, of the Polka Dot Door and countless other children’s shows. Born in Sudbury, Cindy has performed for children the world over, and is no stranger to the festival. Stay tuned for many more exciting announcements, including some more contemporary acts, special accommodation packages, and large, energetic world music ensembles.

Discounted early bird tickets are available at: NLFB website:; Gloria’s Convenience (469 Bouchard); Jett Landry Music (1119 Lasalle); Old Rock Roastery (212 Minto); Fromagerie Elgin (5 Cedar Street); The Townehouse Tavern (206 Elgin); Laurentian University SGA (Parker Building, Laurentian University campus); all Home Hardware locations in Greater Sudbury.

Northern Lights Festival Boréal continues to innovate each year with an eclectic program of indie, roots, world music, as well as visual arts, workshops, family entertainment and more, making it a unique celebration of community and culture. Every year, the festival awards the Jackie Washington award, recognizing outstanding contributions to arts and culture in Northern Ontario, with past recipients including Willie P. Bennett and Charlie Angus. Over the years NLFB has grown into a seasoned presenter of Canadian roots and modern music, and a lightning rod for the energy of Northern Ontario’s artistic community. Inventing tradition, fostering innovation, celebrating community, since 1972.


Source: Press Release

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