Big River – Ness Creek Music Festival
HappyNess! WOW. This past weekend two Waskwanderers, Kayanna and Julie spent 3 days in the middle of the woods surrounded by great music, awesome people, and having a truly amazing time at Big River Saskatchewan.
According to Julie “I had never been to Ness Creek Music Festival before but every time someone spoke with me about it they always said something along the lines of “What?! You’ve NEVER been? Well, you’re just going to love it, it’s a very special place.” So, naturally as we were approaching the Ness Creek Festival Site and began seeing the hand-painted signs pointing us in the right direction, I could feel the excitement bubbling up inside and I truly did not know what to expect. It also added to the excitement knowing that my female music idol TERRA LIGHTFOOT was headlining. When we arrived at the festival site, there were people everywhere! We got our wristbands and managed to grab one of the eight camping spots that were left for the weekend. We set up Kayanna’s adorable little Boler Camper and off we set with our cameras to see what the main stage had to offer.
As we were walking, I couldn’t help but notice how extremely happy everyone was. I work in a school, which is a pretty happy place, but this was a whole new level that I don’t know if I had ever experienced anywhere else. I also soon realized that I had not packed nearly enough tie-dyed clothing or flowy pants. Once through the main gate and in the main stage area, I was genuinely and pleasantly surprised by the spectrum of festival attendees and the family friendly-ness of it all. There were kids dancing and weaving through crowds of millennials and middle-aged people all there to share in their love for music and the outdoors. The first night of Ness was a really fun time, the Snotty Nose Rez Kids headlined and put on a truly amazing show. After the headliners we headed back to camp and had a relatively early night, knowing we wanted to be good and rested for the next day.
On Saturday morning we got up and started our day around 10 am, we made breakfast sandwiches on our little propane burner and were ready to take in the Stage of Aquarius show on Nesslin Lake. What is the Stage of Aquarius you ask? WELL, it is simply the coolest concert in the whole universe where the stage is a giant flatbed boat with a WATERSLIDE on it and to make it even better, Saskatchewan’s own Bombargo was playing. So, we made the 10-minute drive down to the lake, set up our beach towels, and hit the water to join the hundreds of other people on floaties who were ready to watch the show. Now, if you have never been to a concert on the water where the audience is made up of a giant island of colourful floaties then I strongly suggest you find one. The Stage of Aquarius was absolutely extraordinary, at one point the lead singer climbed up the waterslide, slid down, and hopped on to floaty island and performed right in the middle of the crowd. Everyone was dancing, singing, swimming around, and I don’t think I stopped smiling for hours and hours even after it ended.
That evening Daniel Romano and Terra Lightfoot took to the mainstage following the coolest all female mariachi band show I had ever seen. Because Kayanna and I are such huge fans of Terra Lightfoot we weaseled our way up to the front of the mosh pit and honestly her set was incredible. If there are any readers out there who aren’t familiar with this true Canadian musical treasure, you should definitely look her up. After the mainstage shows were over, we decided to check out the after-hours performances that were happening until 3am (see why we decided to call it early the night before?). At the afterhours show we danced our faces off right until the very last note of the festival was played.
As we were walking back to the campsite as the sun was rising, I realized that I now understood why everyone loved this place so much. It is one of the most unique festivals I had ever been to. Everyone was in such high spirits the whole time, and at any given time you can hear the phrase “HappyNess!” echoing through the air. It is safe to say that my first Ness Creek Music Festival experience was an amazing one, and I cannot wait for next year.”
Until then, never stop adventuring and discover unforgettable north Saskatchewan.