From Scott Dunn for the Owen Sound Sun-Times. Click here for original article.
OWEN SOUND - Lupercalia Winter MultiArts Festival is being revived, offering up entertainment just when people could use it most in the dead of a GreyBruce winter. Lupercalia, scheduled for Feb. 1213, had a threeyear run ending in 2013. The festival brought indie music in multiple city venues at a time of year when there were no significant events like it and there still aren’t, organizer Josh Richardson said. The winter festival is returning because he has more time since cancelling his summer Mudtown Music & Arts Festival in 2014 and because people asked him to, Richardson said. At Lupercalia, Richardson says people will be able to enjoy Mudtown’s flavour of entertainment. Greg and Joanna Bottrell of Heartwood Concert Hall will host the headliners acts at the Lupercalia Winter MultiArts Festival Feb. 1213 in downtown Owen Sound. (James Masters/The Sun Times, Owen Sound) NEWS LOCAL LupercaliabackthisFebruary By Scott Dunn, Sun Times, Owen Sound Wednesday, December 23, 2015 5:51:56 EST PM “I think that people have come to realize that the kind of stuff that we’re doing is not middle of the road, top 40 prefab folk or pop if you can have prefab top 40 folk. I think we’re offering something different, but still with broad enough appeal that most anyone could hop in an enjoy themselves thoroughly.” There are two headliners, The Sadies, a Juno Awardwinning rootsrock band, and Souljazz Orchestra, an eight piece, Afrofunk fusion band, Richardson said. “If you like to dance and if you like rhythmically based music with lots of horns, this is your thing, it will be electrifying.” Another band, Friendly Rich & the Lollipop People, will bring its “Frank Zappa meets Tom Waits” style played by band members who are among Toronto’s best session musicians, Richardson said. Skye Wallace, Hervana and Cupcake Ductape will also perform. The recently opened Heartwood Concert Hall will be the main venue, where both headliners will perform. Richardson said more locations and schedule details will be announced in the new year. Heartwood coowner Greg Bottrell spent 25 years in the music business in Toronto, including as booking agent for the Rivoli night club in the 1990s and restaurant and club owner in the 2000s. He said he still owns a restaurant/concert venue/dance club in Kensington Market. “It’s nice to see Josh bring some of the more indie acts up to this region because either the kids aren’t creating that type of music and nor are they exposed to some of those bands,” he said. Lupercalia will also have workshops, panel discussions and author and music journalist Stuart Berman, a contributor to online music magazine Pitchfork, will speak at an event called “Rock ‘n Writing” at the Owen Sound & North Grey Union Public Library. It will be free to kids and everyone else will pay a small fee, Richardson said. Playwright and spoken word artist Cathy Petch will perform and there will be a “LuperCulinary Lounge,” featuring the best in local food and refreshments, Richardson said. In 2010, Richardson started OTHERfolk Festival, his downtown response to the landmark Summerfolk music festival at Kelso Beach, which he criticized for having too narrow a definition of folk music. OTHERfolk continued until 2013 when it was renamed Mudtown Music & Arts Festival, which he cancelled in 2014 due to slow ticket sales. His Mudtown Records, a regional record label, continues to present The Mudtown Music & Arts Series yearround. Lupercalia weekend VIP and general admission passes are available at MudtownRecords.com. Early bird tickets are on sale until midnight tonight. Early bird weekend passes are $80 for general admission, $110 for VIP tickets, which guarantee access to all Lupercalia concerts and attractions. Single day passes will be for sale if capacity permits.
Terra Lightfoot plays the Heartwood Concert Hall next Saturday, December 12th to what will (likely) be a sold-out audience. Last time she was in Owen Sound it was with the Dinner Belles, who played an inspired set of originals and classic country covers to a small sold-out show at Rocky Raccoon Café in support of their latest album “The River & the Willow.” Fast forward a year – Terra has a hit solo album, a cross Canada tour under her belt, and has just played Massey Hall. But, she couldn’t be more grounded.
Mudtown: Why is Hamilton the worst? (For an inside on this joke, follow Terra on Instagram here.)
Terra: So many reasons. The waterfalls, the hiking trails, the beautiful views of the harbour, the restaurants, art galleries, venues, the cheap housing, SUPERCRAWL, two beer festivals, our new Collective Arts Brewery and ManoRun Organic Farm.
You’ve played a number of dates opening for fellow Hamiltonian Daniel Lanois, who has worked with U2 & Bob Dylan, among others, and is a noted songwriter in his own right – how do you think (if at all) Hamilton has influenced his songwriting, and / or your own?
Well I think there’s a sort of grit and dirt involved when people think of Hamilton. For me that never comes out. I write about the nature, the streets and places I gravitate toward, the views of the city from different vantage points. Dan has told all kinds of stories about growing up in Hamilton. I think it informed parts of who he is as a person, just like any city does. He’s very honest and true to himself. I don’t know if he’s written any Hamilton centric songs. Maybe the new instrumental music he’s writing is all about Hamilton?
The scene in Hamilton seems pretty strong right now (sensing a theme?) with lots of venues for live music, the successful Supercrawl festival, the Green Belt picnic, plus producing acts like Arkells, Whitehorse, and yourself – what do you think other scenes (think Owen Sound) can learn from Hamilton?
I think that Hamilton has pockets of different scenes all over the city, just like any place…so we have different venues, different genres, young people, old people. It’s important for any scene to be inclusive. I am just as supported by the punk community in Hamilton as I am supported by the blues community, or the rock community. I focus on supporting them too. Even if you are not into each band in your city, you still support them and talk about their shows. The last part I would say is supporting the out-of-towners when they come through – Owen Sound seems to have that part locked down! It’s Hamilton’s weak point for sure.
Your voice – justifiably – has garnered a lot of accolades, but you’re also a skilled guitarist. What guitarists do you like, or have influenced you? Are any of them from Hamilton?
Well I love Luke Doucet’s playing. He’s an honorary Hamiltonian. I am really into Chet Atkins right now. I’ve always loved his playing, but I’m starting to follow it more. No surprise he called himself “CGP” – Certified Guitar Player.
Owen Sound, or Hamilton?
DON’T MAKE ME CHOOSE!
When you were in Owen Sound last year for the Mudtown Music & Arts Series you played in the well-respected Hamilton group the Dinner Belles at the former Rocky Raccoon cafe. It was a tremendous show, which displayed great group cohesion and formidable musicianship. How is playing with your solo band different?
I love playing with the Dinner Belles, because we just get up there and joke around. It’s fun music too. And, it doesn’t matter if you hit a wrong note. It’s funny. My (own) band is understandably maybe more serious, about the songs, lyrics maybe. I’m much more vulnerable in presenting my work I guess. Brad Germain from Dinner Belles also has a solo project, Spruce Invaders, which is a space rock band. So cool.
Finally, do you have anything to say to the people of Owen Sound before the show next Saturday?
People of Owen Sound, your town is great. I really loved playing there last time, and I can’t wait to see you all again!
B.A. Johnston performs for his first time in Owen Sound this Saturday, November 21st at the Coach Inn (click here for tickets). He granted Mudtown an interview in anticipation of his performance, which will include a donut eating contest, an all-Ween tribute band, and many, many snot-rockets.
Mudtown: Thanks for agreeing to the interview BA. Your longlisting for the 2015 Polaris Prize sparked some controversy with people coming out vocally for and against your nomination, including an active campaign to get you on the shortlist, complete with its own hashtag #shorlistBA and a Downfall / Hitler Reacts video – what would you have spent the $50K on if you had won?
BA: Dunno. I guess I would have invested heavily into Dollarama and A&W stocks, and spent the rest on Savage Swords of Conan. I may have bought a van made in this century.
It’s not unusual for you to end up performing to an audience in a bathroom stall at the end of the night, cramming in as many crowd members as possible. Do you have a preferred kind of bathroom to perform in, or any particular venue’s bathroom that is ideal for the crapper concert?
I can’t really get away from the bathroom encore. The audience seems to want it and they give me trouble if i don’t do it. That being said I prefer a good sized girls bathroom. Sometimes there is poupourri in there.
You’re known as a son of Steel Town (Hamilton, Ont) and a devoted Ticats’ fan. What do feel are the political-economic ramifications for Hamilton with respect to American Steel’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy application in the United States, and how will this – if at all – influence your songwriting?
Well it won’t really reflect much in my songwriting, but i think US steel are a bunch of crooks. And Hamilton will be left out to dry again, as we as a city tend to vote NDP, so no one gives a shit what happens there.
McDonald’s, or Harvey’s?
Harveys for burgs and shakes. McDonalds for everything else.
On a typical show you switch through playing guitar, playing a keyboard, and singing to backing tracks on a portable CD player – what determines your performance method, and have you considered doing all three at once?
Due to lack of skill and ability i am forced to do them all separate. May be for the best.
The minivan seems to be the preferred BA mode of transport and has been featured in your songs – what do you think of the demise of the minivan and rise of the crossover SUV? Would you ever consider driving a Tesla?
Man, the mini van ain’t going nowhere. You know how hard it is to find a used Dodge Grand Caravan? People can’t get enough of these things. People will always need a big slow dumb thing to drive their kids and crap around in. I would drive a Tesla if i can get a good used one for 2500 and it can haul all my crud.
You’ve been able to capture the Canadian spirit in song unlike any other singer-songwriter of our day, like a fusion of Stomping Tom and the Trailer Park Boys – to what do you credit your originality? And, where does BA Johnston go from here?
Well,l you got to write about what you know. And, all I do is drive around canada and eat. I guess most people don’t write songs about eating or Regina. Nowhere to go but up from here.
Finally,do you have any words for the people of Owen Sound?
Come on down to the show. Good seats still available.
B.A. Johnston’s latest album “Shit Sucks” was longlisted for the 2015 Polaris Prize. It is available via iTunes, and record stores across Canada.