Town ready for a Blueberry Jam session

Flin Flon’s arts scene is looking forward to the city’s first taste of sweet blueberry jam.

Preparations for the Blueberry Jam Music Gathering are nearing completion. The music festival, the first of its kind to be held in Flin Flon, will take place from August 10-12.

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Performers from Flin Flon and other communities will play at the Rotary Wheel and the brand new main stage and dancefloor at the Flin Flon campground.

“We have everything in place. We have people coming in from out of town for it, we have a lot of musicians, I believe there’s over a hundred musicians who are going to perform. Everything’s pretty much ready to go,” said Crystal Kolt, cultural coordinator for the Flin Flon Arts Council and a Blueberry Jam organizer.

“It’s going fantastic. The stage is pretty much built, as well as the dancefloor. We have our volunteers – the more hands there are, the easier it is.”

A wide variety of acts are scheduled to take to the stage. Opera singer Kari Rutherford, hip hop artist Creetown Soldier and the Flin Flon Community Band are all likely to perform, along with Kevin Imrie, Jennifer McLean, Ron Burwash, CC Trubiak, Derek Kemp, Janève Masson, Kim Jones, John Taylor, the Lethbridges and many others.

Some former Flin Flon residents will also return to play, including Tarun Bablani, Darren Crone and Bill Bage.  The event will even include a few musical reunions – local bands Big Electron and High Noon are anticipated to reunite at the event. Musical acts from Cranberry Portage, Wanless, The Pas and Swan River are all slated to attend.

In total, around 60 acts and more than one hundred individual musicians are slated to perform at the festival. Squeezing dozens of different acts into three days has proven to be a good problem for Mark Kolt, an event organizer who is putting finishing touches on the event schedule.

“Trying to put together a schedule that will meet everybody’s needs is a Tetris-like adventure,” he said.

 “I would say about two-thirds of the acts are local and the rest are from out of town. A lot of the out-of-town acts are coming into town as full bands, three, four or five people.”

The gathering is intended to be a successor of the Tennent’s Musical Gathering in rural Saskatchewan. Held for three decades on a farm near Naicam, the event was held for the final time last week. Designed as a gathering place for musicians to come, socialize and perform, the gathering gradually grew in reputation and performances.

“The music reunion is where we’re taking inspiration for Blueberry Jam. The last event, after thirty years, [was last] weekend,” said Crystal.

Mark also added that he aims for every act to have at least some time on the event’s main stage.

“In order to accomplish that, we have half-hour sets. There’s a lot of rotating around.”

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