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SweetWater Music Festival returns next Thursday

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SweetWater Music Festival returns for four days starting Sept. 16, with music concerts outdoors, indoors and online.

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Internationally acclaimed Canadian musicians will perform classical, jazz and contemporary music. There will be mainstage concerts, a special celebration concert and noontime community concerts.

“After the great response to our outdoor concerts during SweetWater Surreal in 2020, we obviously wanted to continue to offer these unique venues in 2021,” artistic director Edwin Huizinga said in a news release.

“It’s great to be able to perform music back in a concert hall but we feel it’s important to provide a variety of options to our audiences including online music programming.”

Four mainstage concerts will take place in Owen Sound. The first, at 7 p.m. Sept. 17 at the Harmony Centre, the second at 7 p.m. Sept. 18 at the Harmony Centre and the third at 9:15 p.m. Sept. 18 at Heartwood Hall, will feature Huizinga, members of the Rosebud String Quartet (Aaron Schwebel, Keith Hamm, Sheila Jaffe, and Leana Rutt), pianist Philip Chiu and cellist Julie Hereish.

The Saturday night concert at Heartwood Hall is headlined by Tamar Ilana & Ventanas, performing Mediterranean melodies and flamenco grooves with contemporary interpretation of ancient ballads, as well as some original music, the festival release said. The three mainstage concerts will also be live-streamed.

The fourth mainstage concert is outdoors at an Owen Sound riverside residence at 4 p.m. Sept. 19. CBC Radio’s Tom Allen will narrate and play trombone in a performance of Being Lost, with Jeff Reilly on clarinet, vocalist Patricia O’Callaghan, harpist Lori Gemmel and saxophonist Pete Gemmell.

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The piece is based on a mysterious event in August 1965. “American composer John Cage led a group of students on an afternoon walk into the woods in northern Saskatchewan. The students came back. Cage didn’t,” the program teaser says.

A Celebration Concert on Sept. 16 at 6:30 p.m. will be performed outdoors at a residence just south of Annan, featuring Schubert’s String quintet in C major D956, and will include a performance by the Tamar Ilana Flamenco Trio.

Four noontime outdoor community concerts start at the Meaford Rotary Harbour Pavilion with the roots cross-genre sounds of Harrow Fair on Sept. 16, then Sept. 17 the Tamar Ilana Flamenco Trio perform at Grey Gallery Gardens in downtown Owen Sound. On Sept. 18 Coco Love Alcorn performs at the Grey Sauble Conservation Authority arboretum pavilion, and Sept. 19 the Rosebud String Quartet headline at the Owen Sound Farmers’ Market. Each concert will also have an opening act featuring four of this year’s Next Wave Showcase finalists. Everyone is welcome and donations would be appreciated, according to the festival’s news release.

COVID-19 health precautions will limit attendance at all events to ensure physical distancing between patrons.

Tickets cost between $40 to $45 before taxes and fees and are available at sweetwatermusicfestival.ca, which has more details. Fewer tickets will be offered this year than in pre-pandemic times to allow for physical distancing.

Live-stream tickets of three mainstage shows will also be available, for $10, with details to be posted on the website shortly.

Tickets may be purchased online up to two hours before a performance. No tickets will be available at the door.

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