Festival Society getting ready to make October rock

Whiskey Boys 3
Whiskey Boyz will be one of the feature bands in Rocktoberfest, the musical component of the Morinville Festival Society’s Harvest Food and Jam Festival. – Morinville News File Photo

By Stephen Dafoe

Morinville – October will start with a bratwurst and a bang as the Morinville Festival Society, Champion Petfoods and the Town of Morinville team up to present the Harvest Food and Jam Festival, a two-day event that combines local food and German heritage with a love of pets and rock and roll. The unusual combination of themes is the latest in the festival society’s goal to provide the community with a festival for all seasons.

“We are celebrating the local talent and local food growers of Morinville,” said Morinville Festival Society Chair Paul Smith. “We want to give our residents and visitors another opportunity to enjoy what we have here in Morinville.”

Smith said the Town of Morinville would take the stage Oct. 4 with a small, tasteful event combining German food with a German oom-pah band. The event will take place at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre and will set the tone for an overall German theme for the rest of the weekend. The event continues Oct. 5, commencing with a Volksmarch through the streets of Morinville from the Sturgeon County building on 100 Street to St. Jean Baptiste Park on 100 Avenue. The park will be where a local celebrity will tap the beer keg to commence the festival proper.

The park and neighbouring areas will also play host to entertainment stages and a variety of family activities, including a community lunch sponsored by Champion Petfoods. The local pet food manufacturer will also be organizing a number of pet events for Saturday.

The Morinville Farmers’ Market will help with the food component on the festival, setting up downtown with plenty of vendors to give residents and festival visitors an opportunity to enjoy a variety of fall produce. Smith said in addition to a big assortment of fruits and vegetables, the Farmers’ Market will be conducting a number of outdoor demonstrations on cooking and canning.

Music a large component

As is the case with most Morinville Festival Society events, music will play a major part in the weekend’s activities.

“We will have local entertainment on all three stages as well as up-and-coming bands from surrounding communities,” Smith said. “The focus on this festival is highlighting local talent.”

The weekend festival will conclude with a finale show at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre that will feature four top bands in a full light and effects show the Festival Society is calling Rocktoberfest.

The evening show of light, sound, smoke and high-flying musicians will feature the Paul Smith Band, Canyon Rose Outfit, Whiskey Boyz and an additional yet-to-be-booked band in one licensed and loud event at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre.

“These are bands that have proven they can pack local places,” Smith said. “We’re going to take these bands and plug them into a stage show that just rocks. We’re putting all the toys and tech you’d expect in a big arena show right on the cultural centre stage.”

Competition offers bands opportunities

While the finale show will offer attendees an opportunity to see some local acts in a new way, the weekend will also offer other up-and-coming acts an opportunity to better prepare for their spotlight.

The Morinville Festival Society is currently looking for local and regional bands to play the festival stages Saturday. In return they are offering them an opportunity to advance to the next level through a rock grant program that will be judged during the day by sponsors and experts in the field of music. Smith said winners of the rock grants would be announced at the Saturday night grand finale.

“We’re giving out things we see as boosting the bands to the next level,” Smith said. “For some bands that’s radio play. For some bands that’s recording time. For some singers just getting going, it’s vocal lessons. For others it’s PR packages. For others it is business advice. Overall we have $20,000 worth of stuff to give away in a Dragon’s Den-style presentation.”

Bands interested in playing the outdoor stages and taking a chance at one of the rock grants can contact smithmusic@telus.net or call Smith Music at 780-862-0340.

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  1. Am I reading this right? There will be a keg in the St. Jean Baptiste park? Please tell me I am wrong, or that it is a metaphorical keg.

  2. Hi Melissa

    A keg of beer at an Oktoberfest is a pretty standard event. We are not planning a “drink yourself into oblivion” type festival. This is a family event with a licenced beer garden. Beer gardens have been in the park during St. Jean Baptiste Festivals in 2009-2011. Licenced gardens continue to be a part of the St. Jean Baptiste Featival. In the past 5 years I’ve been involved in the festivals residents have always conducted themselves responsibly while enjoying a beer or cooler. We supply ample security in a segregated area, licenced bartenders and follow all ALGC guidlines. Beer gardens have operated without incident.

    Paul Smith

  3. My wife, friends and I really enjoyed Whiskey Boyz at the July event (even more than the feature act, Sweeney Todd), so I look forward to bearing them again at this one. Beer, bratwurst and good music – what’s there not to like?? Sign me up. Where and when can we buy tickets? Should be a great town event.

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