From Sept. 13 to 15, Harvest Moon Festival will celebrate 12 years of bringing people together from across Manitoba to enjoy great music, delicious food, camping with friends, and fun activities for the entire family. The cozy town of Clearwater, Manitoba hosts the annual festival, which places an emphasis on education, sharing, and sustainability.
This year, the community will warmly welcome a wide array of talented performers including local favourites Cannon Bros., Chic Gamine, Shotgun Jimmie, Mama Cutsworth, Boats, Animal Teeth, the Riel Gentlemen’s Choir, and many more. There will also be a number of free, hands-on workshops, a farmer’s market, a fair trade fair, a kids’ area, and a number of food vendors offering locally-produced goodies to enjoy amid the natural beauty of the Pembina Valley. Whether you are a long-time Harvest Mooner or a first time attendee, there is guaranteed to be something for everyone at the festival this harvest season.
Sheldon Birnie, local author, musician, and communications director for the festival, has experience with the organization going back many years.
“Harvest Moon Festival is one of Manitoba’s finest. A beautiful location, excellent organization, and a focus on sustainability and local food production is something that I really value, and am always pleased to take part in as a performer, a festival goer, or volunteer,” says Birnie.
The performers, both old and new, are excited for a weekend of new experiences and reunions.
“I can tell you we’re pretty pumped on Harvest Moon, it really seems like our kind of place. [The Riel Gentlemen’s Choir is] singing with Flying Fox again, and [we] are super excited to be singing with Chic Gamine for a bit – we’ve also recruited Alexa Dirks to join us for our gospel breakfast set, whatever it means to have the gospel for breakfast,” says Jesse Krause of the Riel Gentlemen’s Choir.
“But our main goal at the festival will be to do something about the plight of the honeybee in North America. It’s true, performance art doesn’t usually get a lot of attention from the animals, but we hope to help out this year’s new bees with an elaborated Pollination Ritual, planned for sometime Saturday night. I guess you could think of it as a pep rally for the bees; hopefully they will get something out of it.”
If you are considering attending Harvest Moon for the first time this year, here are a few tips to keep in mind when preparing for the trip to Clearwater:
As autumn is fast approaching, temperatures can fluctuate anywhere from -5 Celsius to +25 C, so make sure you pack both your wool socks and your flip-flops. A Therm-a-Rest, plenty of blankets, and a cuddle buddy will keep you toasty warm as the nights grow chillier
If you are musically-inclined, bring an instrument or two for friendly evening jams and the acoustic Hootenanny stage, open to everyone
You may want to bring an article of clothing to screen-print your very own Harvest Moon souvenirs at the special printing station
Clean drinking water is available on-site – don’t forget to bring your own reusable container.
Make sure to bring cash, as there is no bank or ATM in Clearwater!
Harvest Moon Festival has been growing steadily over the years, and last year’s festival nearly sold out, so it is advisable to purchase your tickets in advance if you are planning on attending. Tickets are available at Mondragon and Organic Planet: $65 for an adult weekend pass, or $45 for youths aged 12-17. Camping passes are $10 for an adult or $5 for a youth. There will be limited tickets available at the gate of the festival; two hours is a long way to drive, so it’s emphasized by festival staff that last minute attendees should confirm via the Facebook group or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Children under 12 are invited to attend the festival for free. All proceeds go back into running the festival and help to fund grassroots, community-based projects.
For more information, including a full price list, performance schedule, and directions to the festival, please visit the Harvest Moon website at www.harvestmoonfestival.ca.