May 18, 2024

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Buzz The Music

Lucknow’s Music in the Fields returning with a slew of fan favourites, new additions

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As Music in the Fields marks its 15th year, organizers are seeing signs the festival is regaining its pre-pandemic momentum.

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“It’s really the first summer where COVID hasn’t been in the forefront of the news and people’s minds,” said Cheryl Johnston, Lucknow’s Music in the Fields marketing director. “People are travelling more and it’s reflected in our ticket sales.”

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Johnston said tickets for this year’s event have been purchased from all over Ontario with festival-goers coming from as far as Niagara, Ottawa, Sudbury, and Sarnia. 

“The one nice thing about COVID is that it did have people exploring more of Ontario,” she said. “That resulted in folks finding out about our amazing Bruce County and Huron-Kinloss area and all that it has to offer, so if there was a silver lining to what happened, that is it.”

Johnston said last year’s attendance was about the same as previous years, drawing thousands to Graceland Festival Grounds in the heart of Lucknow over the course of the three-day music festival, but she said last year “the crowd was definitely livelier.” 

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“After being cooped up for a couple of years, people were ready to get out, socialize and have a great time,” Johnston said, adding she expects another big crowd again this year.

Festivities kick off the night of Aug. 24 with performances by AC/DC tribute band 21 Gun Salute and country greats tribute performers Country Thunder. 

2023 Music in the Fields
Country music duo LOCASH hits the stage at Music in the Fields on Aug. 25. Supplied photo jpg, LS, apsmc

The following night, country music duo LOCASH hits the stage. The Aug. 25 lineup includes returning acts Meghan Patrick, who performed at the festival in 2017 and 2018, and Aaron Goodvin, who performed in 2018, as well as Owen Riegling, who performed on the side stage last summer as runner-up in the 2022 James Cameron Memorial Emerging Artist Showdown. 

“This year he makes a big move to the main stage,” Johnston said of the Mildmay, Ont. musician. “It’s always great to see these artists, especially Canadian ones, that have continued and are growing success over the years.”

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Also set to perform on Aug. 25 are Elyse Saunders and Mystic Highway. 

Headliner Chris Young takes the stage Aug. 26, the final night of the music fest, following performances by Jade Eagleson and Tyler Joe Miller. The Trews, Mackenzie Leigh Miller, and Orangeman are also set perform. 

“Last year, we introduced a VIP area that went over really well, so we decided to continue with it this year with some improvements,” explained Johnston. 

The VIP section is located between the main and side stages. This year, the section features an expanded elevated viewing area, fast pass entry into the concert area, a private bar and bathrooms, and a dedicated vendor, along with complimentary snacks and additional games and activities. 

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“Each VIP will also get a swag bag with some goodies in it,” she added. “Anyone who already has a ticket can simply go online and add that upgrade to their weekend pass.”

2023 Music in the Fields
Meghan Patrick returns to Graceland Festival Grounds on Aug. 25 having played at Music in the Fields in 2017 and 2018. Supplied photo jpg, LS, apsmc

This year’s newly-named Emerging Artist Showdown winner, Brothers Wilde from Kettle Point First Nation, is performing on the side stage, along with runner-up Feral Minks of Kitchener and third place winner Sarina Haggarty of London, Ont.

DJ Johnny Rivex returns hosting nightly after-parties.

During the day, attendees can once again ride a mechanical bull or try their hand at axe throwing.  

“This year, we will be adding a rock climbing wall and other fun backyard-type games to keep folks entertained,” Johnston said.

On-site campers are invited to decorate their outdoor space as part of the festival’s annual decorating competition. 

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“It’s judged on creativity, so it allows people to come up with any idea and bring it to life,” explained Johnston. “We are always impressed at how into it everyone gets from the decorating to the voting.” 

Festival-goers can also enjoy great food while they watch. 

“We have a great selection of food vendors this year, including Grassroots (Woodfired) Pizza, Cheesy Monkii, Gator’s Grub, Sub and Sandwich Factory, Kilties Mini Donuts and the ever-popular BeaverTails,” Johnston said.  

There will also be a vendor selling a variety of western wear in addition to vendors selling Music in the Fields merchandise and artist swag. 

To celebrate the 15th year of the festival, a limited edition anniversary t-shirt has been created featuring all of the bands who have performed at the event since its inception.  

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“It was very humbling to see all the names when we started putting the shirt together,” said Johnston. “A true testament to what the Kinsmen, committee and community has accomplished over the years.”

The Lucknow Kinsmen run Music in the Fields as a non-profit event with proceeds being donated to select charities, including Cystic Fibrosis Canada, the Kinsmen’s title charity.

“Last year, we were burdened with three years of promotion and spending with only one year to have the event and recoup costs,” said Johnston. “This was because our hope in 2020 and 2021 would be that the festival would go ahead, only to postpone and then cancel respectively. It was very disappointing to the committee and community. Now, we are back on track.”

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Cystic Fibrosis Canada will be on site selling raffle tickets for their annual draw. 

“Once again this year, it is for a guitar signed by all of the artists. All of the proceeds for that raffle go directly to CCF Canada,” Johnston said. 

Cystic Fibrosis Canada isn’t the only charity benefitting from the Kinsmen-run festival. 

This year, the festival has partnered with the Tanner Steffler Foundation in conjunction with the James Cameron Memorial Emerging Artist Showdown.

2023 Music in the Fields
Tyler Joe Miller performs on the main stage at Graceland Festival Grounds in Lucknow on Aug. 26. Supplied photo jpg, LS, apsmc

The foundation provides support to youth between the ages of 12 and 29 struggling with mental health and/or addiction within Huron and Perth counties.

“Last year was our first year to rebrand the side stage in James’ honour, given that he was the first winner of our contest,” explained Johnston. “Last year, we were able to give a donation to WES for Youth and we hope to do that again this year with the (Tanner Steffler) Foundation,” she said, adding donation amounts aren’t determined until the event takes place. 

“The more tickets we sell, the more money we can give back to the community,” Johnston said.  

This year marks the first year the festival has a title sponsor with Montgomery Ford, which operates dealerships in Lucknow and Kincardine, stepping up to the plate. 

“To get to the point as a festival where you have a company want to be a title sponsor is pretty special,” Johnston said. 

For full details on Lucknow’s Music in the Fields, visit musicinthefields.ca

2023 Music in the Fields
Jade Eagleson takes to the stage Aug. 26 as part of the 15th Music in the Fields outdoor festival. Supplied photo jpg, LS, apsmc

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