Fans flock from across Saskatchewan for music and entertainment at the Mergel Ranch
Although the weather tried to play spoiler, fans of the Wood Mountain Folk Festival say it was one of the best in the province!
The second annual Wood Mountain Folk Festival was held on the Mergel Ranch near Wood Mountain, August 24 and 25, 2012 and Dwayne and Jeanne Woolhouse were on hand.
Jeanne and husband Dwayne attend many festivals, most recently the Northern Light Bluegrass Festival, by Big River, Saskatchewan. “We tend to go to quite a few of them! We went from way up North to way down South and enjoyed both equally, they were both very, very good.” she said.
Having been to festivals in Gravelbourg, Mortlach, Saskatoon, Regina, Bengough and more, Jeanne says the Wood Mountain Festival is right on track, it just needs to grow. “It is just smaller, just beginning. Word of mouth now has to spread, cause she’s doing very well, she’s doing everything very good.”
The “She” that Jeanne is referring to is Judy Mergel, head of the organizing committee of the festival and owner of the land that the festival is held on.
Mergel is proud of the line-up of the festival. “You just had too many really good acts! Everyone was a good one!” she said when asked who her favourite was.
Although blues in Jeanne’s choice of music she enjoys the variety at the festival. “There is a really nice cross section of different music. It gives you a taste of all kinds of venues of music which is really nice.”
The Festival featured acts such as Petunia and the Vipers, Little Miss Higgins, the Campagnes, and local talent.
Jeanne believes that the festival is great value. Two days of entertainment, including camping for $40 advance. “For $40, you can’t get better value!” said Jeanne.
She also enjoyed the Farmer’s Market that was held on Saturday afternoon. “It is probably the best farmers market I have been to.”
Jeanne had a hard time coming up with any negatives. “The only thing that could be improved on is the weather and she has no control over that. Saying that, it was very, very cool on Friday night and they had a whole group up dancing.”
The location is beautiful, so peaceful. You get to hike and sit around and enjoy the beautiful setting. Jeanne Woolhouse
Mergel talked about the weather. “The crowd was very disappointing Friday night!” she said. But she was pleased with the fun that everyone on hand did have.
“We just ratcheted up everything a notch this year”, said Mergel. One thing they experimented with was Green Power. Their newly added second stage was powered entirely by solar power, with a cooking oil generator as back up. “We didn’t even have to use the back-up generator!” said Mergel.
The festival is held on the Mergel’s Ranch, 40 miles south of Assiniboia. Jeanne feels the location is perfect. “The location is beautiful, so peaceful. You get to hike and sit around and enjoy the beautiful setting.” said Jeanne.“The whole committee makes everything seem homey and friendly.”
Although the crowd was down, Jeanne hopes it will build over the years. “I know there were more last year than this year, but it was definitely because of the weather. They just need word of mouth and people to support here. I am very very happy and we definitely will be bringing more people down there next year. If the committee keeps on going the way they are I see it being a very successful. It’s so nice to have!”
According to Mergel, the festival made enough money to pay the bills and any extra will be put back into the production of the next show.
Mergel talked about the future, “We’re thinking of maybe trimming it down, back to the format of one day with the farmer’s market.” The committee believes that weather might not play as big a part in a one day event. “If it was looking decent they would whip down for one night.” she said.
You can keep an eye on the festival on facebook or on their website at http://www.mergelranch.com/wood-mountain-folk-festival