Festival offers opportunity to see some great acts, if you hurry

By Stephen Dafoe

Morinville – Tickets are going fast for a series of concerts set to rock the Morinville Community Cultural Centre June 21 – 25. Those concerts will range from a First Nations gospel group to a pair of popular 1980s bands with some maritime comedy and country music thrown in for good measure.

St. Jean Baptiste Festival Chair and concert co-organizer Ron Cust said all the platinum and 80 per cent of the gold seats are currently sold for all performances. However, with the layout and acoustics of Morinville’s Community Cultural Centre, which will hold its public grand opening Sunday, there isn’t a bad seat in the house and silver seats are a glittering opportunity to hear some big acts in a small town.

“Single tickets are available at the gold tables, but we’re going to release the silver tickets providing an opportunity for people to go as a pair, four people or six people,” Cust said, adding those who buy silver tickets in pairs will receive a complimentary platter or plate of h’orderves from Don’s Bistro, the official caterer for the Art of conversation Concert Series. “That provides them an opportunity to see and enjoy the entertainment and also dine on some of the local fare.”
But there is more to feast on than shrimp and other culinary nibbles. This year’s St. Jean Baptiste Festival has assembled five shows sure to wet everyone’s entertainment appetite.

“The shows add to that festival atmosphere where it’s that one time of the year where you may say, ‘Let’s kick up our heels and go out and have a good time and visit,’” Cust said. “That hearkens back to the old days of barn dances or what was seen as Fair Days.”

Over the past two years those fair days have been reinvigorated with a bigger and better version of the town’s traditional St. Jean Baptiste Festival. Joel Chevalier and Cust lead the charge last year with an increased format and the festival has decided to take advantage of the newly-opened cultural centre to ramp the festival up to even higher levels with five concerts.

Things kick off Tuesday June 21 on Aboriginal Day with Breaking Walls, a First Nations gospel group being sponsored by Higher Grounds, Smith Music and Art of Conversation. Wednesday night brings Jimmy Flynn and his maritime comedy to town. Flynn is being sponsored by the Morinville Fire Department who will use part of the proceeds for their Children’s Burn Camp. Thursday will see Jo Hikk and his band providing modern country to the mix. Hikk’s performance is sponsored by the Kooters softball team. The weekend is reserved for ‘80s music – Doug and the Slugs take to the stage Friday night, sponsored by Sturgeon County and MorinvilleNews.com. Saturday will see Kenny Shields and Streetheart take to the stage for the final concert event of the series, sponsored by Art of Conversation and Monday Morning News.

Cust said each of the four concerts headliners will share the stage with local bands, offering some home-grown entertainment to the mix and added value for ticket holders.

“We’re really looking forward to bringing top-notch entertainment to Morinville in a Las Vegas style,” Cust said. “That’ll provide the basis for the entertainment for the St. Jean Baptiste Festival weekend and really highlight the 100th anniversary of Morinville by bringing in some top-notch entertainment into town.”

Cust said collectively the five shows is an undertaking that can only be rivalled by much larger centres.
Tickets are available at Smith Music and Bumper-to-Bumper.

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