Summer festival low-down 2009

We have seen the future of the St. John’s Metro, and it involves a lot of festivals. Here is all the info we could track down.


Buskers’ Festival
August 7-9
Jugglers, acrobats, magicians, comedy and clowns working for their hat every hour on one of three outdoor stages located in the downtown. Local, national, and international performers. Line up always a surprise, and have cash on you.

Local stars Mary Walsh and Rick Boland team up to explore the history of St John’s and beyond. The Garden Party at Commissariat House, touted as ‘crime, sex, betrayal, class struggle and tea biscuits,’ looks at struggle for responsible government. Back at the barracks in Cuckhold’s Cove Rick Boland takes on the United Irish Uprising of 1800 in Mutiny. 743-6265

Festival of New Dance
July 21–26
A couple of highlights sure to have wide appeal include when Toronto dancer Susie Burpee and Winnipeg composer Christine Fellows transform A1C Gallery into The Rolling Parlour Cabaret with theatre, song, live piano and dancing. In Spatial Pull, Gerry Morita directs local dancers down the courthouse steps in slow and fluid motion inspired by Japanese butoh. A road trip in a camper van inspires Aimee Dawn Robinson’s performance to take place in downtown streets.

SummerFest & SummerDance
July 25 & 26
From ballet to belly dancing, amateurs and professionals make their way to the outdoor stage in Pippy Park. The family stage plays host to music and dance for all ages while other stages may charge a small admission. Produced by Pippy Park, Kittiwake Dance Theatre and Neighbourhood Dance Works.

Shakespeare by the Sea Festival
July 5-August 16
Braving Newfoundland weather for the 16th season, this year’s offerings include a version of Romeo & Juliet with a local twist at Harbourside Park. The Tempest will be staged back on old (incredible! stomping grounds along the cliffs of Ocean Sciences Centre in Logy Bay. Fairy Tale Mix Up, a daytime show for kids in Bowring Park, plus candlelit tales inspired by Charles Dickens and Edgar Allen Poe return to the spooky Newman Wine Vaults. Outdoor shows are weather dependent. 722-7287

Spirit of Newfoundland
St John’s dinner theatre company hearkens back to a time when hair was big, Brian Peckford was Premier and shoulder pads were fashionable. Spirit of Newfoundland returns to the 80s in a comical production called Stucco in the 80s featuring Sheila Williams, Dana Parsons and Steve Power backed up by a live band in the Masonic Temple. 579-3023

Wonderbolt Circus
August 14-23
Talk about self-sufficient! Not only are we a Have province, but we have our own circus too. And they just so happen to be signed up to perform at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver later this year. But that’s next year, and this year, ringmaster Beni Malone, daughter aerialist Anahareo White-Malone and a cast of jugglers, acrobats and circus hot shots from Newfoundland and around the globe will come together for a new show at the Reid Theatre. You’ll definitely want to run away with them. 728-1819


24 Hour Art Marathon & Eastern Edge Silver Anniversary
August 14 – August 23
Things kick off a week early with a 1984 themed dance party, Montreal spoken word warrior Alexis O’Hara and 24 Hour DJ & Tent City Graffiti Jam. Throughout the week catch Germany’s Elke Surh perform to viewers in parked cars, zine workshops, an experimental video night, fancy artist talks and BBQ. The week of frenetic activity will explode into 25 hours, yes that’s right, 25 hours, of continuous art-making, busking, dancing, music, spoken word, poetry, performance art, circus arts and all-round foolery. Awesome. 739-1882

Bob Bartlett Celebrations
June 14 – 17
100 years ago Captain Bob Bartlett trekked to the North Pole. The Bowdoin, one of the last Arctic expeditionary schooners, will drop anchor in St John’s for a few days before heading to Old Perlican and beyond. Music, drama, travelling exhibits and harbour sailings all events free of charge. Recognized by Frommer’s as being one of the top anniversary celebrations in the world in 2009. Must be something to it, eh?

Canada Day Celebrations
July 1
The Beaumont-Hamel Memorial Day trumps this one usually, with ceremonies at Cape St Mary’s, LaManche and Butter Pot provincial parks. But if you’re in the mood for Canada Day stuff, head to Mount Pearl for the “Most Outrageously Dressed Person Contest.” Or just skip town. Take Route 60 through CBS for a family day celebration with face-painting and music. In Placentia you’ll find storytelling and music, all part of Heritage Festival.

Victoria Park Lantern Festival
July 25
Things start out with a family friendly afternoon in Victoria Park. As day turns to night, the park fills up with lanterns of all shapes, sizes and persuasions: hot dogs, robots, birds and geometric oddities abound. A cluster of blue papered jars with tea lights symbolize the river that once ran throughthe park. Percussionists, musicians and fiery demonstrations set among hundreds of lanterns, each lit by a candle create an unforgettable spectacle.

Mount Pearl City Days Celebrations
Jul 17 – 19
21st birthday celebration with community events, games, and live entertainment. Details TBA.

Mount Pearl Summer Expo
July 30 – Aug 2
Centennial Square in Mount Pearl transforms into a tent village which include buskers, chef local food samplings, musical acts and even a laser show.

St John’s Days
June 19 – 21
The perfect day to wander around downtown. Guided tours, concerts, stories, puppet shows, circus performances, children’s book signing, film screenings, arts & craft demonstrations, most events are free.

St John’s Pride
July 20-26
A celebration of St John’s queer community, and those who support it. “From Silence to Celebration” is this year’s theme and the group hopes to pay special attention to the ‘T” in LGBT. The Big Queer Bonfire on Middle Cove Beach, with buses going to and from Bitters Pub-MUN Campus to launch. Other events include a flag raising at City Hall, Trans Awareness Movie Night & Panel Discussion, Trivia Night, Queer Youth Bowling, and of course, the Drag Races where persons in drag race on foot. Check out St John’s Pride on Facebook at

St John’s Regatta
Aug 5
You know it’s dicey, given Newfoundland’s weather. If it’s stormy, you’ll have to go to work. But on a sunny day, crowds topping 50,000 gather to cheer on the teams of rowers at Quidi Vidi Lake. Interestingly enough, lots of people head straight for the curry stand.

Wallsaway Arts & Music Festival
August 29
New festival in the works by Copasetic Productions, a local, non-profit arts organisation. They’ve planned an interactive day of free workshops, games, art-making, performance and Women’s Film Fest screenings beginning at the Rock House in early afternoon at and culminating into a performance by Toronto prog pop group Oh No Forest Fires! Line up of local supporting bands TBA.


Nickel Independent Film Festival
June 23-27
Over 70 films, including 29 local films featured in this year’s festival. New this year: Arts Matinee and Short & Giggly Show. This year’s Children’s Matinee will screen many films actually directed by children and youth. Workshops facilitators include Noel Baker of Hard Core Logo fame and Andrew Zinnes, co-writer of the Guerilla Film Makers Handbooks. See the Scope’s On Screen section for more info or / 576-3378.


Festival 500
July 5 – July 10
This choral festival brings together singers, conductors and scholars from countries and cultures worldwide. This year’s farthest travellers would be the Indonesian Children and Youth Choir. Grand Finale with Helsinki A’cappella group Club for Five, NSO and Massed Adult & Massed Youth choirs at Mile One Centre. Catch local favourites Lady Cove, Quintessential Vocal Ensemble, Newman Sound and Shallaway. 729-3900

George Street Festival
July 30-Aug 4
Blue Rodeo and Steven Page open the biggest party of the summer on George. Five nights of outdoor entertainment ranging from traditional music to rock. Line up TBA. Check back at

Newfoundland & Labrador Folk Festival
August 7 – 9
Headliners of the annual folk explosion in Bannerman Park include Rawlins Cross, traditional singer Danny Spooner from Australia, Ron Hynes, Sean Keane and Cona’ O’Grada from Ireland, Bon Debarass from Quebec, Benoit Family from Port au Port and the Branch Dancers. Workshops in tin whistle, mandolin and accordion. Bring your own instruments, stories and songs to the Homemade Jam tent where audience participation is the focus.

Tuckamore Festival
Aug 2-16
Some highlights include Canadian pianist Louis Lortie, all-female Lafayette String Quartet Soprano—who will put on a special kid’s show and Suzie LeBlanc whose specialty is Early Music from the 17th & 18th centuries, French Mélodies, and Acadian traditional. Suzie will present a free master class for vocalists. Young Artists perform solo and chamber music free lunchtime concerts at The Kirk.

Wreckhouse Jazz & Blues Festival
July 15-19
Get your beret, sunglasses and creative facial hair ready. Jazz, blues, R&B, Latin, African fusion, gypsy jazz, gospel, soul, funk, reggae… there’s a huge range of styles that fit under the large umbrella of “Jazz and Blues.” Some highlights of this year’s festival include the piano trio The Bad Plus, Halifax gypsy jazz band Gypsophilia, and Canadian beatnik stars The Shuffle Demons will be celebrating their 25th anniversary.


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