September 24, 2021
The SweetWater Music Festival again brought music to life and brought people together to enjoy it during the annual September festival from September 16 to 19. For the first time, patrons could enjoy internationally acclaimed Canadian musicians in-person (indoors and outdoors) and online.
There were several noteworthy things to highlight from SweetWater 2021:
• Over 700 people enjoyed in-person concerts.
• Nine concerts (one Celebration Concert, 4 Mainstage Concerts, 4 Community Concerts).
• Three livestreamed concerts (a Festival first).
• 21 featured performers (17 making their SweetWater premiere).
• Four Next Wave Showcase finalists open Community Concerts (another SweetWater first).
"SweetWater 2021 was a success! I am very proud of the whole organization for both the determination to continue hosting live music as well as beginning to provide more streamed programming. The ongoing support of our key funders, sponsors, and donors was a significant factor to make this all happen," says Board Chair Lynda Montgomery.
Artistic Director Edwin Huizinga thanked the fantastic musicians who performed this year and “played their hearts out” and made it possible to enjoy such amazing music.
“There were so many moments during SweetWater 2021 where my heart leapt out of my body: the finale of the Dvorak Quintet with the Rosebud String Quartet and Philip Chiu, that moment where Tamar walked out onto the stage during the Celebration Concert, the families and children smiling at all of our community events. So many absolutely amazing moments!”
Edwin extended his thanks to all for supporting the vision of community, music, and dance.
“Thank you for coming out and opening your hearts to new musicians, music, and ideas, and thank you all for spreading the Sweetwater Music Festival joy,” added Edwin.
It all got underway on day one with a noon hour Community Concert in Meaford featuring Harrow Fair. Later that evening, a special Celebration Concert featured performances from the Rosebud String Quartet, Julie Hereish, and the Tamar Ilana Flamenco Trio. On Friday the Trio returned for a Community Concert in Owen Sound’s River District followed by the Friday Night Mainstage featuring pianist Philip Chiu and the Rosebud String Quartet. Saturday was jammed packed with three concerts including a Community Concert featuring Coco Love Alcorn and Edwin Huizinga, Saturday Mainstage Concert (featuring SweetWater 2021’s “Magnificent Seven” – Huizinga, Chiu, Hereish, and the Rosebud String Quartet). The day ended at Heartwood Hall for a Saturday Late Night concert with Tamar Ilana & Ventanas. Sunday began with a Community Concert with the Rosebud String Quartet followed by an outdoor Matinee Finale featuring Tom Allen, Patrician O’Callaghan, Jeff Reilly, Pete Gemmell, and Lori Gemmell.
SweetWater 2021 was more than just concerts. The Classical Jam returned after a year off and took place in an outdoor setting (for the first time) bringing out several local string players led by Edwin Huizinga. The String Instrument Showcase was again combined with a noon-hour Community Concert at the Owen Sound Farmers’ Market. Plus, for the first time, Next Wave Showcase finalists (Bridget Walsh, Emily Yascaravitch, Antonia Cambre, Lincoln Haggart-Ives) performed at each of the Community Concerts.
Unlike last year’s frigid temperatures during Sweetwater Surreal, the weather was ideal with beautiful late summer sun and warmth. It added to the celebratory feeling throughout the Festival.
SweetWater implemented strict COVID-19 safety protocols during SweetWater 2021 to ensure the safety of all involved. A plan was created in consultation with the Grey Bruce Health Unit.
SweetWater will again have various online programming over the coming months. New episodes of Front Row featuring many of this year’s SweetWater 2021 performers will run until late year. In early winter, a second season of Into the Music will also begin. Plus, plans are now in the works to share video moments from all of this year’s concerts and events. Watch for details soon about this online opportunity.
Remember, to stay connected to SweetWater follow our social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube) and be sure to keep an eye on our website, sweetwatermusicfestival.ca .