The Hay Days Festival UNWOUND had another big draw of people to the Fisherman’s Wharf in their fourth Saturday into its 12- week program this summer.

On the bill included popular blues band Local Smoke, which has played in past variations with the festival over the last 10 years.

Jim Constable, leader of the band as a drummer and vocalist, said the band had played the Friday night before at the Ptarmigan Inn, but other than that hadn’t performed since October 2019, largely due to the pandemic.

Due to weather conditions, the band had to stop after playing one of two sets.

“The venue was great, but the problem was that because of the rain blowing in on the equipment while we were playing, the sound technician decided to halt the show because of the danger of electrocution,” he said.

Constable said that additional weather proofing on the stage may have allowed the band to continue. He would also like to see additional protection for the audience, as spectators were under umbrellas due to some rainfall.

“It is a learning curve and it is a new stage but certainly it would have been helpful if there had been (protections on the) sides on the stage behind there,” he said.

As a longtime participant in the festival, however, he said he likes what organizers have done this year.

“I like the concept of having something every weekend at the Fisherman’s Wharf,” he said. “I can’t see why we couldn’t do that and have a big shaker at the end of the summer, but maybe that is wanting to have your cake and eat it too.”

The festival also hosted Jessica Latour of Georgie Designs as the Meet the Maker feature who shared her novel Great Slave rocks crafts and designs.

Danielle Sachs of Knit Free or Dye, a regular mainstay on Saturday morning also held two workshops on dyeing yard, one for youth and one for adults.

She said the festival’s ability to draw residents and campers helps make up for a tough pandemic year when it was difficult for artisans to work with people.

“After a year of 2020 cancellations all turnout is fantastic,” she said of the festival.

“I’m happy that the Hay Days crew has dedicated so much time into bringing exposure to local artists and musicians.”

Sachs said that 2020 was a tough year due to public health restrictions in being able to meet and greet with people.

“All my in-person fibre events were cancelled last year, and Hay Days has marked a bit of a return,” she said. “It’s reignited some creativity in my world.”

April Gleicar, festival coordinator, said that the new organization of the festival over 12 weeks in the summer keeps getting a strong reaction from residents.

“It is going well and we just keep getting feedback that people are liking this delivery through the whole summer,” she said. “There is still some favourite things that people would like to see in the past years as well.

“At times when we need change we change and evolve and we so will see what 2022 looks like.”

Simon Whitehouse

Simon Whitehouse came to Yellowknife to work with Northern News Services in 2011. A through and through "County boy" from Prince Edward County, Ont., Simon obtained his journalism education at Algonquin...

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