A ten day festival celebrating culture and community utilizing a creative blend of walks, culinary adventures and entertainment is kicking off in Norris Point
Marina Sexton loves to show off her hometown of Norris Point and Trails, Tales and Tunes, a ten day festival showcasing and highlighting the best the region has to offer on so many levels, is just as good a reason to extend an offer to visit as any, she opened.
The festival has been warmly received for over a decade, she continued. Even through the challenges of COVID-19, Trails, Tales and Tunes – now in its 16th year – received a MusicNL Award for Event of the Year in 2020.
“It was a different year for all of us and thanks to our board, amazing event producers, sponsors and partners we delivered a virtual festival and it really was a great celebration of culture and community,” Sexton said proudly.
‘Our Sweet 16’
The Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Arts Society has also recognized the festival’s founder, Shirley Montague, for her many contributions to the province’s folk arts, naming her the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient.
“This is our 16th year, our sweet 16. While we had to go online, or do a combination of online and socially distanced events because of COVID over the past two years, this year, we’re back,” Sexton said. And are they ever!
With performances by Craig Young, Angus Stewart, The Mixed Tapes, Rum Ragged, Peter Jacobs, the French Shore Fiddlers, Chris LeDrew, Sherman Downey and more, it’s one event not to be missed for the music alone.
The calender for Trails, Tales and Tunes is jam-packed with events to delight one and all. From supper at the Lions Club to wine pairings and bike rides to Bonne Bay Loop or the lighthouse, it’s one ‘must see’ festival. And bring a friend!
“There’s going to be our trails part of the festival that so many enjoy and we organize a number of different hikes and there’s storytellers to share tales about the region and of course there’s music and food too,” she said. The festival requires “many actively engaged volunteers,” and those involved “are so excited and are having so much fun,” she added.
“Back when Shirley (Montague) had an idea and she gave birth to this festival, it’s been said that everyone else just helped with the labour,” Sexton said with a chuckle.
‘A Beautiful Area’
The festival, happening from May 20-29, boasts some “fabulous hikes throughout the area,” Sexton shared.
“Of course, we’re located in Gros Morne National Park, so it’s a beautiful area and it’s amazing in May and it’s a great time to get out and explore. People have been tied down for so long and behaving themselves doing what they were supposed to do to keep everyone safe and now we’re breaking out and this is a perfect opportunity to do just that in the most perfect setting.”
One person who sings the praises of Trails, Tales and Tunes is Kevin Blackmore from Buddy Wasisname and the Other Fellers.
“Whether one goes as a performer, or just a person who likes to attend sessions, or to experience the place and partake in the events, the festival never gets old. My wife and I have gone for so many (years) that we have a whole other set of friends we get to see but once a year. For us the festival is part of our May and really it wouldn’t seem right to skip it. Life just wouldn’t be the same,” he shared.
For Sexton, Trails, Tales and Tunes is a celebration for the entire province and beyond. “There really is something for everyone and it’s something that shouldn’t be missed. It’s a beautiful area rich in culture and history and we hope to see people visit from all over as we celebrate this beautiful province of ours and what it has to offer from our unique culture to our community.”