Collingwood Arts & Music Festival


by Festival Nomad, Gary McWilliams


Listen to this HERE for information about the 2015 Collingwood Arts & Music Festival.


The last time I had visited Collingwood, it was a lot different! The main street had been closed off to traffic, a large stage had been set up in the main intersection, several hundred rows of chairs had been neatly stationed up the main street and there groups of Elvis's standing in groups, talking to one another. Yes, we were there for the Collingwood Elvis Festival! This time Judi was not with me (She was visiting the Fortune Cooking Food Festival being held at the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto.), there were no Elvis's and the main street was open to traffic. I was in Collingwood this time to visit the Peak to Shore Music and ArtFest. As I looked down the main street, I noticed that several small marquee tents had been set up along both sidewalks. I decided that I would investigate later.

The Art Show
My first objective was to fine the art portion of the festival and its organizer, Yvonne Gibson. From their website map, I found that it was located just off of Pine Street in one of the towns large parking areas. After parking my car, I walked over to the tented area. Several rows of tents had been set up, each containing wonderful works of art! I wandered through the tents until I found the Georgian Bay Association for Creative Arts' (GBACA) booth. This was where I found Yvonne. I introduced myself to her. We talked for a few minutes and then I asked her to introduce me to some of the participating artists. The first artist I met was Norma Lee. She was at the GBACA booth demonstrating her painting techniques. From there we started off to meet other participants. These included Ellie Lagrandeur, Leslie Worts, Terese Connolly, Dar West and her grandson, Gordie, Rhichard Devrieze, Miro Omes and Halina Shearman. Each of these artists and their works of art can been seen in the photographs shown below. Yvonne, also an artist, showed me her booth and art work. Yvonne likes to specialize in dog portraits. Yvonne had other duties to perform and left me to continue exploring the festival on my own.

The Music...
After I had toured the remainder of the art area, I walked over to the main street. This was where the marquee tents had been set up. Many of them contained sale merchandise being offered by main street retailers. Two tents had been set up as stages for the music portion of the Peak to Shore Music and ArtFest. I explored both sides of the main street, looking in shop windows and investigating the merchandise being offered. By the time I had finished, the stages had been set up and the musicians had started to perform. At the north end of the street, the Regal Jazz Band was playing. I stopped to listen for some time and then headed for the southern stage. Here, Bobby D. Blackburn and friends, were playing to an enthusiastic audience. Again, I stayed to listen and then wandered back to the art area. It was time to leave Collingwood and I wanted to say good-bye to Yvonne. On my way to her booth, I stopped to listen to songwriter/singer Marc Charron who was performing on the Pine Street Stage. Marc is a one man band and a very engaging performer! After saying my good-byes, I headed back to my car.

The Village at Blue Mountain...
The Peak to Shore Music and ArtFest takes place not only in Collingwood, but also in the Village at Blue Mountain and in Thornbury. Although it was getting late in the afternoon, I decided to drive to the Village at Blue Mountain to see what was happening there. Unfortunately I had missed most of the days activities. I did, however, enjoy walking through the Village, discovering all the wonderful shops and restaurants. This was my first (and not my last) visit the to the Village and I found it fun and interesting! While walking through the Village I noticed that there were two festival music stages. The Water Stage was being set up for an early evening performance by singer Tara Holloway. The second stage was located in the Events Plaza and had been made ready for the festival's feature performance by Juno Award Winner, Serena Ryder. I would have liked stay to hear both singers, but I needed to return home to a lonely "puppy dog" (the responsibilities of a Dog Parent!). I had had a wonderful time at the Peak to Shore Music and ArtFest and had met wonderful artists and had heard great music!