Hay Days UNWOUND 2021 passed the halfway point of its new 12-week slate of acts this past weekend as residents headed to the Fisherman’s Wharf for the popular trio The Mood Swings.
Karen Wall, guitarist and vocalist and her band of Ron Karp and Mark Lyons took held their performance under the pavilion on Saturday morning to offer their mixed genre of music.
“We’re the Mood Swings because it is a play on words where we like the mood to swing,” she said.
“We kind of came together accidentally about five and a half years ago, but we have in common that we love music and we go through all genres from rock to country to punk. We are not limited.”
Wall said that the band does not have a drummer and so is not as loud as other bands on the festival lineup this summer. For that reason it was more appropriate to have their performance held more intimately with the crowd.
“We really like the venue there and it was hopefully not too loud,” she said. “It was nice to be closer to the crowd and it was nice the fact we were in the pavilion kind of setting.”
The show was the first that the band had played since Hay Days and the Enterprise Jamboree – both in 2019.
Karp and Lyons had played the weekend before, on July 17, as part of Linda Duford and her friends’ act, however their regular gig is with Wall.
Wall, who is originally from New Brunswick, said she enjoys the different regional styles to her band.
“Each of us brings to the table our own style with Mark who brings kind of an Irish-music flavour whereas I bring Maritime vibe and Ron brings a Saskatchewan country combination.”
Wall said she is looking forward to getting the band going again after the pandemic hiatus with a planned date at the Enterprise Jamboree on Aug. 7 as well as dates to be confirmed this summer at the Hay River Museum.
Bev Tybring, owner of Sew Fine Yard and Design was the Meet the Maker featured artist on Saturday.
April Glaicar, festival coordinator said that with the midway point over and six weeks left, festival organizers are considering the implications of what this might mean for the evolution of the festival.
“With this last six weeks, we have caught our breath on delivery of the festival and now we are really trying to think about how we go forward in the future for it to work,” she said. “If this (setup) is the chosen direction, we have to think about how we do it and continue to incorporate some of the favourite events from the past.
“Honestly we are getting a very good response weekly of our music acts and workshops.”
Glaicar said the positive aspects remain that musicians and artists can gain exposure and that the feeling of a festival can be held on a bit longer than a traditional short window of a three-day weekend, for example.
“People travel and so in some cases they might not respond to one weekend but delivering over 12 weeks gives them some access,” she said.
For artists it is also beneficial, she said.
“The Meet the Maker artists have been really well received because it helps people recognize NWT artisans or local artisans that they can then put a face and name to,” she said.
Next weekend will feature the Bell Rock Band from Fort Smith as well as Maxine Bourke of Glass by Max, from Hay River, who will be the Meet the Maker and workshop artist.