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"Well I’ve been from the coast out to the plains. To Nova Scotia and back again. So sing to me your sweet song. Saskatchewan, where I belong."

- Zachary Lucky, musician, in the song "Saskatchewan"

eBulletin - June 2013

Saskatchewan's evolving music scene


Oral Fuentes moved to Saskatoon long before the boom.

The Belizean musician arrived in 1992 and spent the better part of two decades defending his choice to play reggae in a Prairie province that had seen exodus for so long.

“People come here now for jobs and things but at the time, back then in the ’90s ... people would usually come for university or for a woman, and mine was for a woman,” he said laughing.

Even after that relationship broke up (incidentally because the woman moved to Alberta), Fuentes stayed.

“A lot of people criticized me ... (saying), ‘People are not going to appreciate that kind of music there’ and things like that, but I said, ‘No, no it’ll change.’ It has changed.”

The Oral Fuentes Reggae Band has been together for over 10 years, with members hailing from as far away as Ghana, Scotland, St. Lucia and Chile.

They’re busy. Fuentes doesn’t have to seek out too many gigs. Saskatoon’s music fans have diverse taste and that includes reggae. As a result, Fuentes launched his own festival in 2005.

The Reggae and World Music Festival began as a Caribbean and Latin party, but Fuentes wanted to open it up to include all the diverse talent in the province.

Running a festival hasn’t been easy. Though he receives emails from reggae bands around the world, sponsorship dollars are sparse.

“A summer festival outside is really expensive and a lot of people don’t realize that,” said Fuentes.
There’s more to it than booking artists; there’s obtaining insurance and a liquor licence, booking the space, and wrangling volunteers.

And yet his festival keeps on. In its ninth year, it is following in the footsteps of so many others — succeeding slowly over time, with a lot of effort.

Fuentes has played at some of those long-established events. He was at the Regina Folk Festival three years ago, and returns to the Saskatchewan Jazz Festival this year. Both are “well-oiled,” said Fuentes.

His hope is that his own festival lasts, becoming the “true cultural celebration that I want it to be.”
Then he hopes to hand over the reins so he can focus on his own music.

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Between town fairs, camps and food festivals, there is no shortage of music in Saskatchewan in the summer. But there are many full-scale festivals that focus on sound alone. Here is a partial list of Saskatoon and area summer music festivals.

SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival
June 21-July 1 / Saskatoon
Saskatchewan’s largest festival takes place over 10 days with more than 60 artists at 10 ticketed venues and five free stages. Though it has jazz in the title, don’t be fooled. There’s blues, funk, pop and more at the Sask. Jazz Festival, which was founded in 1987.
Featured acts: Colin James, Metric, Ziggy Marley, A Tribe Called Red, Herbie Hancock, City and Colour, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Suzie Vinnick, Nikki Yanofsky, Jack Semple Horn Band, Royal Wood, Michael Franti & Spearhead.
Attendance: 80,000+
Price: Tops out at $50 per ticket. 
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La fete fransaskoise
July 5-7 / Batoche
With food, dancing, children’s events and, of course, music, La fete fransaskoise is unique among these festivals because the whole thing is in French.
Featured acts: Sarah Harvey, Michelle Mireau, Indigo Joseph, Shawn Jobin, Marco Calliari.
Price: Weekend pass is $65 for adults, $150 for families.
Camping: Available on site. 
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A Taste of Saskatchewan
July 16-21 / Saskatoon
For almost two decades, food- and music-lovers have congregated at this Kiwanis Park festival, which features more than 50 bands over six days. The music is free; the food is not.
Featured acts: TBA
Attendance: 100,000+
Price: Free! 
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Saskatoon Reggae and World Music Festival
July 27 / Saskatoon
This festival, held at the Odeon, is a draw to cultural groups from across the province and the world.
Featured acts: Mikey Dangerous, Terrance Littletent, Bank Preeyapong.
Attendance: 1,000.
Price: $15 in advance, $20 at the gate. 
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John Arcand Fiddle Fest
Aug. 8-11 / SW of Saskatoon
Since 1998, fiddlers and music fans have united at this festival, which comprises educational workshops, mainstage shows and Metis cultural activities.
Featured acts: Bannock Country, The Chickadees, Alex the Folk Band, The Cleavers.
Attendance: Up to 4,000 over the weekend.
Price: $20 per day or $50 for the weekend.
Camping: Free camping; free shuttle from Saskatoon’s Market Mall, Lawson Heights and Heritage Inn runs 8:15 a.m.-midnight. 

Read more about Saskatchewan music festivals.

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Jazz Fest '13: Must see acts you don't know


We are only days away from the kickoff of Western Canada’s second biggest jazz festival: The 27th annual SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival, always one of the best parties of summer. With the dates falling entirely in June this year, the festival board decided to add an extra day on July 1st making it the longest festival in its history. Buzz has been building for months already around many of the headliners –City & Colour, Serena Ryder and Preservation Hall Jazz Band are sold out. So what else is out there? Lots. Here are some of the must see shows that you likely haven’t heard of.

Red Baraat
Club Jazz Free Stage, June 29 and Opening for Michael Franti, June 30

One of the best party bands around, Red Baarat plays rollicking funk music steeped in Northern India's wedding celebrations, with a dash of D.C. go-go beats and hip-hop. Bring your dancing shoes (or lack thereof) for their loud, high-energy and free set at the Club Jazz Potashcorp Stage. They also open for Michael Franti June 30.

Soweto Kinch Trio
The Bassment, June 24

Award winning alto-saxophonist and MC Soweto Kinch is a master of two musical worlds: Jazz and Hip Hop. He will blow your mind with an abstract jazz jam and then flip over to the mic and freestyle the most intelligent flow of vocabulary you’ll hear all festival (props to his Modern History degree from Oxford). He is the definition of talent and will be dropping jaws all night June 24th at the Bassment.

Lee Fields
Amigos, June 21-22

Lee Fields has got soul. The kind of soul that doesn’t really exist in the music industry today because there aren’t too many artists making music today that had a release in 1969 when the genre was still being molded. So get ready for one of the best performances of the festival because to quote VICE Magazine: ‘Lee Fields is the coolest motherfucker to ever sing words into a microphone’.

Harpoonist & The Axe Murderer
The Bassment, June 26-27

Self-described ‘blues that gets ya in the crotch’, this Vancouver duo are armed with a sack of harmonicas, a mess of foot percussion and a road-worn Telecaster and sure to rock the Bassment back to back nights.
Special shout outs:

-London’s The Herbaliser will be playing a live set opening for Michael Franti in the Gardens and then a DJ Set for the after party with Saskatoon’s own The Gaff June 30th at the Odeon.

-No better way to celebrate Canada Day then a free show by the high energy, percussion party specialistsFive Alarm Funk when they blow the roof off of the outdoor FreeStage at 9pm July 1st.

-Hailing from Canada’s capital, native producer/ DJ crew A Tribe Called Red will bring their signature ‘pow-wowstep’ style to Amigos June 23rd. It will be a guaranteed dance party throw down, so come witness why this group is blowing up the global electronic scene. Sponsored by Spareparts.

With 11 days of JazzFest this year and a lineup that gets bigger and better every year, start taking your vitamins now so you can get out and soak up as much of Saskatchewan’s biggest festival. Get your tickets before they sellout! Visit saskjazz.com.

See you in the Gardens.

Source: therooster.ca

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Saskatoon Fashion Moment: Shoes to last


New business revives dying art form

Adam Finn is not afraid to get his hands dirty- quite literally. As he gives a tour of the small workshop behind his house on Avenue H, he sports the mark of any serious craftsman who makes a living with his hands. Finn is a Cordwainer, which is the technical term for someone who makes and repairs shoes. His workshop is a cluttered array of machinery, blades, tools, hides of leather and two beautiful pieces of antique sewing equipment. Lining the walls are 189 pairs of ‘lasts’, the foot-shaped form that cordwainers use to stretch the material over. 

Welcome to Last Shoes, Finn’s business for custom, made-to-measure footwear. A lover of puns, Finn wanted to pay homage to The Awl Shoppe, where he worked in the early stages of his career, “An awl is what you use to poke holes when you’re sewing, but then at the Awl Shoppe they do it all,” he explains with a laugh. Just as every pair of shoes is made with a ‘last’, every pair of Finn’s shoes are made to last. 

Finn’s love of shoes came from his love of craft, specifically working with ceramics. Unable to find a job after graduating from Concordia with a BFA specializing in ceramics, Finn began selling his artwork to make a living, but something was missing, “I’ve never really liked painting as much as I like making an object that has form and function. Something about that really entices me.” Upon this realization Finn decided to teach himself how to make shoes, only to find it was much more complicated than it looks, “I realized you can’t use just a regular sewing machine. You need lasts, you need all this equipment to do it properly,” which led him back to Montreal where he met John Stathoudakis at Imperial Boots. After two weeks of whittling him down, Stathoudakis agreed to take Finn on as an apprentice, where he learned his craft working grueling 48 hours a week over two winters. 

After a second apprenticeship at Rino’s Shoes for the Stars in Vancouver last summer, Finn finally felt ready to open his own business when he returned in August. His training gave him a strong sense of what he wanted to accomplish in Saskatoon, “The aesthetic of the shoes that I make comes directly from Imperial Boots. I make a lot of shoes that we made in Montreal.” This means working exclusively with natural materials such as leather and suede, as opposed to any pleather or plastic based products that come from nonrenewable resources, “I try to find leathers that will hold up really well or have an amazing color or something that draws me to them, but primarily it’s durability.”

As a member of the growing consumer conscious population, Finn places a lot emphasis on sustainability, sourcing his materials locally whenever possible. He also prides himself on building a relationship with each client, “I’m accountable for every pair of shoes that I make, and if anything ever happens you can always find me,” says Finn, who offers free replacement of worn down heels and half soles for one year after purchase. 

Read more

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Saskatoon finding a foothold as conference destination


The Bridge City is becoming a conference hotspot and Tourism Saskatoon says it’s no coincidence.

Todd Brandt, president and CEO of Tourism Saskatoon said although it’s hard to track how many conferences are coming to the city each year, Saskatoon has seen a significant increase.

“It’s been pretty positive over the last couple of years,” said Brandt. “We made a conscious decision a number of years ago to be aggressive in the events market, whether that’s a cultural event, a sporting event, or a convention or tradeshow.”

He explained Tourism Saskatoon has a group called Conventions Saskatoon, whose sole purpose is to pursue major conferences and tradeshows.

“We have a very coordinated system in this city for identifying leads and pursuing leads and developing bids and securing conferences—it doesn’t happen by chance,” he said.

Having conferences come to Saskatoon is an economic benefit for the city as each Canadian conference delegate spends roughly $290 CAN a day while international conference delegates usually spend even more.

“A typical conference of 500 people, the direct spend on that in our economy would probably be closing in on $1 million,” said Brandt. “That $1 million is spread around food services, accommodation, transportation and retail, so it does help many areas of the tourism economy.”

The increase can be seen in how many conference attendees are visiting the city, as In 2011, there were an estimated 12,000 conference attendees and that number jumped in 2012, to an estimated 60,000.

Up until June 30, 2013 has already seen an estimated 10,000 conference attendees.

Source: Metro Saskatoon

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2013 TMAC conference a shining success

Tourism Saskatoon would like to thank the Travel Media Association of Canada for a successful 2013 conference and AGM.

We hope every delegate enjoyed their time in our city, and we hope to see you again soon.

If you are interested in arranging a media visit, please contact Angela Moore, Director of Media, or Alexandra Stang, Media Relations Coordinator (contact information below). We'd be happy to help you plan a trip to Saskatoon!

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To arrange a media visit, please contact:

Alexandra Stang
Media Relations Coordinator | Tourism Saskatoon
Ph: 306.931.7587 | astang@tourismsaskatoon.com

Angela Moore
Director of Media | Tourism Saskatoon
Ph: 306.931.7585 | amoore@tourismsaskatoon.com

Copyright 2012 Saskatoon Visitor and Convention Bureau. All rights reserved.