By Jenn Watt
Published Jan. 16 2018
Visitors to this year’s Bluegrass in the Highlands Winter Festival will be met with the warm glow of a campfire complete with lawn chairs as they walk in the front lobby of Pinestone Resort and Conference Centre.
It may be cold outside – the festival is Feb. 23 and 24 – and the fire might be artificial but the warmth of the bluegrass community is real says organizers Sue Gallant and Lynda Weir.
“It’s a very relaxed atmosphere” says Weir. “What [visitors] can expect is good music a good time.”
This is the second year for the winter bluegrass weekend an event conceived of by fans of the music and held during a time when there are fewer events planned in Haliburton County.
The music starts on Friday evening Feb. 23 with a program designed to bring out the local population for a night of bluegrass country and Celtic tunes.
“On Friday night this year we’re having a mixed program which will have classic country and down east tunes performed by Highlands Trio and Celtic music being performed by Celtic Jam. We will also have some of the bluegrass bands playing as well” says Weir.
Cost to attend Friday is $35.
On Saturday the schedule features “pure bluegrass” all day with music performed by Concession 23 Maple Hill Sweetgrass Hard Ryde Switchback and Old Tradition. Weekend pass rates are $70 (advance tickets) or $75 at the door.
Hosting the event is a passion project for Gallant and Weir who are paying the bills through ticket sales and sponsorships. The pair say help from the business community is important in allowing the event to continue.
“When you first start unless you can get a heavy duty sponsor or people that are going to donate hundreds of thousands of dollars you’re starting with nothing which is what we started with last year” Weir says.
So far two businesses have signed on as bronze sponsors Walkers Home Hardware and Abbey Gardens at $75 each.
They challenge other local businesses to do the same noting that their event brings visitors to the Highlands and does not depend on weather.
To sponsor the event or buy tickets to attend contact Lynda Weir at 705-447-2348 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Sue Gallant can be contacted at 705-854-1200. Tickets are also available at Pinestone and Canoe FM or at the door. Weekend passes are $70 in advance or $75 at the door Friday night tickets are $35 and Saturday night are $30. An all-day Saturday pass is $45.