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Blueberry Jam set to go forward in August, with changes to schedule, new venues

It’s official: Another taste of Blueberry Jam is - likely - coming to Flin Flon this summer, though it might taste a little bit different.
The main stage for the Blueberry Jam Music Gathering sat boarded up last winter. Last summer’s edition of Blueberry Jam was cancelled due to COVID-19, but plans are afoot for a new, COVID-19-conscious event this summer. - FILE PHOTO

It’s official: Another taste of Blueberry Jam is - likely - coming to Flin Flon this summer, though it might taste a little bit different.

Organizers behind the Blueberry Jam Music Gathering are planning to continue the show this summer after cancelling last year’s event due to COVID-19 concerns. This year’s installment is tentatively scheduled for August 5-9 and will be spread out throughout Flin Flon at several venues, with distancing and smaller crowds.

“Hold onto your mask, wipes, Blueberry Jam mug and guitar pick because we are still looking at August 5 - 9 for hour-long concerts with reserved seating in small groups at locations around Flin Flon where the required spacing is possible,” reads an announcement from the organizing committee, released April 23.

“By July 1, we expect our situation will be clear enough to announce details.”

Anyone expecting the same Blueberry Jam as was seen in 2018 and 2019 will likely be disappointed. This year, organizers are not planning for festival staples like a beer garden, food concessions or Porta-Potties, nor are they planning for merchandise and sales stalls. Instead, the next Jam will more closely resemble the series of concerts held at the festival grounds last summer, with longer sets but fewer artists, with crowd members bringing their own chairs and masks and keeping a six-foot distance.

“We care about you and your health first and foremost and the health of the performers, of the technical support and of the volunteers, so we do not plan to deliver the Blueberry Jam of 2019 and 2018. Ensuring the safety of our community will be done by following the guidance on outdoor gatherings just over three months from now,” reads the organizers’ announcement.

Other musical outings have already announced cancellations for summer events, but the Blueberry Jam crew is staying optimistic, despite what organizers referred to as “the slow pace of vaccine delivery and the concern about COVID-19 variants.”

“We are optimistic that there will be enough progress to allow Blueberry Jam concerts by staying modest and spreading the music out to locations other than the campground stage.”

Where exactly performers will play is not yet known, but another recent performance program could provide some clues. The Street Corner Concerts program saw performers play around Flin Flon at different areas, performing short sets before getting in a vehicle and driving to the next location. Locations for that series included the former Elks Hall site near the Northern Lights Manor, Willowvale Park, Steventon Park, Rotary Park and Pioneer Square. None of these locations have been confirmed by organizers to be performance sites for the new Blueberry Jam.

In addition to the main festival stage, both the Rotary Wheel and Johnny’s Social Club have been used as Blueberry Jam venues - the Rotary Wheel in both years of the event’s existence and Johnny’s for the 2019 edition.

In the meantime, Blueberry Jam organizers will hold live-streamed shows, similar to those the committee has helped organize for several months already this year.

“While we wait for August, the Blueberry Jam production team will work creatively with our technical artists and performers to keep the spirit of Blueberry Jam alive through both pre-recorded events and live-streamed events on our Facebook group,” said organizers.

“We will, as soon as it can be done safely, jump at the chance to share live face-to-face music with you again.”

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