Free concert being planned for Canada Day celebration

By Ken Kellar
Staff writer

Canada Day celebrations this year might not look like they have in years past, but the Fun in the Sun Committee is still working hard to host an event for the entire family to enjoy.

Committee chair Cynthia Woodland shared that due to the flood conditions in and around the town, many of the events they had planned for the July 1 celebration have had to be scrapped, but they are still planning out a free family concert for the public to enjoy.

“We are going to focus our efforts on a family concert on Canada Day,” Woodland said.

“It will be performers who were here before with Tour de Fort, Twin Flames. I enjoyed them, their message was fantastic, the way they entertained us was fantastic, and I’ve already booked them.”

Woodland said she is still working on finalizing some details, but the concert will be held at the Duke Arena on Couchiching First Nation on the afternoon of July 1.

For anyone who missed their March 15 performance as part of the 2021-2022 Tour de Fort lineup, Twin Flames are an Ottawa-based multi-stylistic duo who perform in English, French, and Inuk. Husband and wife team Jaaji (pronounced Yaah Yee) and Chelsey June have released three albums, with their most recent album Omen being released in August 2020. They have received over 30 awards or nominations for their music including the 2022 Canadian Folk Music Awards for Vocal Group of the Year and Indigenous Songwriters of the Year.

The decision to host a free concert is a response to the continuing flood conditions making traditional Fun in the Sun activities difficult, if not outright impossible to pull off, something Woodland said the committee has been struggling with.

“We had a meeting last [week] to make a final decision about Canada Day,” she said.

“We’ve been putting it off because of the weather. Weather is always a factor with what we do, so we try to work around it and have different plans, but even if the water went down next week, it still wouldn’t be dry enough for us to have activities. Our focus is usually the lake and making it accessible for everybody, but I don’t know how that would pan out. We used to just worry about rainy days, but now it’s a whole new cup of tea.”

Instead of relying on the water and weather to cooperate, Woodland said the committee simply decided to roll with it and offer a fun family event that would still allow people to celebrate together in person. Woodland said they had at one point considered a number of smaller events scattered around town, but decided it would be too difficult to co-ordinate due to the small size of their committee.

The concert is scheduled for the afternoon on Canada Day, and while Twin Flames are scheduled to headline the concert, Woodland said they’re also hoping local entertainers might be interested in taking to the stage beforehand as well.

Keep an eye on the Fort Frances Daily Bulletin for more information about the July 1 concert.