SweetWater Music Festival Celebrates 15 Years of World-Class Music

August 17, 2018

The SweetWater Music Festival (September 21 to 23 in Meaford and Owen Sound, Ontario) has established itself as a significant festival on the Canadian music scene over the past 15 years. Founded by acclaimed violinist and Artistic Director Mark Fewer, SweetWater has showcased many of the world’s top classical, jazz and contemporary musicians including Russell Braun, Elizabeth Wallfisch, The Gryphon Trio, James Campbell, St. Lawrence String Quartet, Phil Dwyer, David Braid, and John Novacek. Audiences have enjoyed these music talents up close in intimate performance venues along the shores of Georgian Bay. SweetWater has earned a reputation for offering audiences unique, cutting-edge musical experiences.


Fewer is building on this legacy of unforgettable performances for SweetWater 2018 (CLICK HERE FOR FULL FESTIVAL PROGRAM) with five, star-packed concerts. He has brought back such SweetWater favs as James Campbell, Denise Djokic, Douglas McNabney, Dean McNeill, Kati Gleiser, and Guy Few as well as many new faces. Performing at SweetWater for the first time are major talents like soprano Suzie LeBlanc and pianist Alexander Tselyakov, along with young talents breaking new ground on the music scene like Quatuor Despax and Yolanda Bruno.


“A great party usually connects you with past and present friends, as well as introducing you to new ones. That’s what SweetWater 2018 is all about,” adds Fewer.


SweetWater goes way back in time for its Opening Night Gala at the Historic Leith Church. Party Like It’s 1689 features LeBlanc, harpsichordist Jason J. Moy, flutist Matthias Maute, and Fewer performing works by Italian Baroque masters. On Saturday afternoon, SweetWater returns to the present day for Brave New World II at Owen Sound’s Roxy Theatre. Percussionist Aiyun Huang performs Nicole Lizee’s Hitchcock Etudies, a multimedia work featuring clips from Hitchcock classics. Cellist Denise Djokic will perform Benjamin Britten’s Third Suite for Violoncello Solo.


Saturday night begins at the Roxy with Wait…What?. It will take the audience from Vivaldi to Walton to Carli to Bach and beyond featuring an all-star line up. The music continues later at Heartwood Hall for After Hours Again. This late night jazz concert includes Graham Campbell, Joe Phillips, and Kaelin Murphy performing classic and Brazilian jazz.

SweetWater 2018 concludes with a spectacular Sunday Matinee Finale, Out With a Bang.  SweetWater headliners perform works by Polenc, Khactacturian, and Brahms’ Piano Quartet in G Minor, Opus 25. Fewer is excited to finally bring this work to SweetWater.


“I’ve wanted to have the Brahms G Minor Piano Quartet performed ever since the early days of SweetWater. We’ll finally do it this year as our season closer!”


SweetWater also offers up a program on Saturday of free, interactive music events for all ages at Owen Sound’s Harmony Centre beginning with the kid-friendly Mozart for Munchkins. Other events include the string instrument showcase, Luthier Exhibit, and the community playalong Classical Jam. It wraps up with the Luthier Performance. Denise Djokic and Quator Despax perform Shubert’s C Major Cell Quintet.


Enjoy all five concerts with the Festival Celebration Pass ($165) or four with the Saturday Sunday Pass ($120). Single tickets are also available: Opening Night Gala $50; Saturday Early Evening, Sunday Matinee Finale $35 each; Saturday Matinee and After Hours Again $30 each. All student tickets are $10. Passes and tickets are available online and at the Roxy Theatre Box Office (call 519 371 2833).


SweetWater is supported by Canadian Heritage, Ontario Arts Council, Community Foundation Grey Bruce the Eva Leflar Foundation, The Medley Family, Murray & Ruth Cathcart, Classical FM 102.9, Tamming Law, and Bruce & Mary Hutchinson.