After six hectic months of dreaming, brainstorms, meetings, several late nights, a couple of arguments and a lot of laughter, the Lupercalia weekend is finally here.
In late August, I was invited to become Artistic Director of the Lupercalia Multi-Arts Festival, to redefine the vision established by founder Josh Richardson. The first Lupercalia was held in February 2013, building on the foundations of the Mudtown Music and Arts Festival (formerly OTHERfolk) and countless other events produced and hosted by Mudtown Records and their indefatigable volunteer committee. Over the years, the label – and the committee – have brought a vast array of artists to town and staged exhibits and cultural conversations in roughly two dozen downtown locations. There have been memorable shows from big names like Stars and The Strumbellas, and spectacular performances from lesser-known artists who have gone on to wider acclaim, like Terra Lightfoot, My Son the Hurricane and The Weather Station. Add Silent Film Ensemble screenings with live scores, live music pop-ups, Farmers’ Market takeovers and Pride events and you can see that Mudtown Records and their associated events have had a huge impact on Owen Sound’s cultural landscape.
You can imagine my challenge when I was invited to become Artistic Director. What could I bring to the mix that was new and different? How could I engage the Owen Sound audience when so much had already been done? By thinking about two ideas – the current cultural moment we are experiencing with respect to women in the cultural and political spheres, and the fact that Lupercalia falls on Family Day weekend – the weekend’s “women and children first” theme fell into place.
Here’s a quick rundown of the weekend’s lineup:
6pm – Six at Six: Remarkable Women Cemetery Tour at Greenwood Cemetary FREE
7:30pm (doors) – Witch Prophet, Ice Cream and Osound at Heartwood Hall
2pm – Women Reclaiming Space in Arts and Culture roundtable discussion at The Ginger Press FREE
4pm – Girls Rock Camp dress rehearsal performance at the Library FREE
6:30pm – Joyful Joyful at Heartwood Home
8pm (doors) – Girls Rock Camp, Kingdom of Birds and Partner at Heartwood Hall
My first year as artistic director of Owen Sound’s mid-winter arts and culture festival has been deeply rewarding. I am proud to offer a festival program that offers a wide variety of music by skilled performers who happen to be women, queer and gender-non-conforming, youth and/or people of colour. I’m equally thrilled to have programmed content that honours our history, engages the community in thoughtful conversation and mentors young local women. All of this has been made possible with the help of the festival’s volunteers, community partners and sponsors. We look forward to sharing it all with you this weekend.
You may find out more about all of the artists and free cultural events by visiting www.mudtownrecords.com (where you’ll find a full schedule) or at the Lupercalia Facebook page and associated events pages. Mudtown Records is pleased to offer subsidized tickets to the unemployed and underwaged. For more information email [email protected] or phone 519-416-5696.
Tickets can be purchased for the entire weekend, single Friday or Saturday evenings at Heartwood Hall, or for the Joyful Joyful show at Heartwood Home. Find Lupercalia on Ticketscene for online orders or drop by Heartwood Home to pick up paper tickets.
A very limited number of tickets was available at the time of writing.