The Music has been on the Mountain for the past five years; but this year festival-goers will have a change of scenery, with Music on the Meadow taking place from Aug. 21 – 23. The event kicks off on Friday afternoon, and will feature non-stop music on two stages, as well as workshops, acoustic sessions, vendors, artisans, and much more.
The festival has taken place at the Murray Ridge Ski Hill since its inception in 2010, but MoM Festival President Lionel Conant said that they’ve outgrown that venue. “They were great to us at Murray Hill,” he says, “and there was a beautiful lodge there we could use, but it’s a ski area, and we needed somewhere flat.” The new site is the old fairground—currently owned by the snowmobile club—to the south of the Fort, where the festival has leased 80 acres of space in which to spread out. There are plenty of buildings to accommodate everything from a musicians’ area to a massage therapist, plus ample space for those who want to bring a camper, RV, or tent and spend the weekend there.
The stage will be in the former arena, and Conant and a team of volunteers are busy getting the stage built and the grounds cleared. “We can’t build a permanent stage,” he says, “but Dale at Northern Interior Forest Products donated a lot of beams that we’re using for the stage base. Bam Bam Trucking got the beams here, Russell Transfer loaned us equipment to unload them, and Newland Enterprises donated a skid steer so we could move them around the site.”
At the moment the site on Fair Road is a work in progress, but Conant says all will be ready by Aug. 21. “The District of Fort St. James will be doing the mowing, Nancy Schlemp will be in doing brush clearing, and Bare Hands Landscaping will trim,” he says. When asked if it’s difficult starting from scratch, Conant shakes his head. “We had to start from scratch there too,” he said. “And we actually have a longer time frame to prepare this year.”
He’s pleased that the festival will once more be offering a children’s songwriting workshop, with musicians working with participants to create and rehearse a song that will be performed for everyone on Sunday. “It’s a very family-friendly event,” he says. “We’re also going to have a play area where kids can run around, and places where they can go and be supervised while their parents enjoy the music.”
Conant says they’re going to be hyper-vigilant about fire risks and hazards. “There’s plenty of water to the site, and we’re going to have a tanker here as well.”
Attendance at last year’s festival was 700 people, and Conant thinks they’ll hit 1,000 this year. “The new site is only 4km outside town, so it’s much closer. And we have a great line-up of musicians coming. The music isn’t going to stop for three days. We’ve built a beautiful thing together as a community.”
For more information about Music on the Meadow, visit the website at www.momfestival.com