Thursday, July 30, 2015

Musicians eager to play festival

Cornshed, a Vancouver-based band featuring three performers formerly from this area, and local musician Ben Sletmoen are just two of the acts that will take to the stage at the inaugural “Harmony of Nations” Music Festival here next weekend.
Other performers scheduled for opening night (July 18) include Sierra Noble, Nick Sherman, Jean Paul de Roover, and headliner Chad Brownlee.

Cornshed is comprised of Marc Lovisa, Andrew Mueller, and Alex Marusyk, who all grew up here, along with Dave Wise and Emily Jane Absalom.
Lovisa and Mueller have been playing music together for 10 years in various projects and moved to Vancouver together, where they started Cornshed.
“Music circles are really small wherever you go and you usually end up meeting people through other bands or people,” explained Lovisa, noting their band refers to their style of music as clusterfolk—a mesh of bluegrass, punk rock, folk, and Irish fiddle music.
Lovisa said they find inspiration from “everything in general” because “inspiration can be found everywhere, not just in music.”
Cornshed is excited to be part of the first-time festival.
“Half the band is from Fort and we haven’t played there as this group yet,” the band noted.
“A lot of our family haven’t seen us perform before so they can come see us at the festival,” it added.
“We are excited to be able to play for the community, and get the chance to come back.”
Cornshed focuses on getting the crowd involved and making the performance as fun as possible for everyone.
“We don’t get nervous, that went away a long time ago,” Lovisa said.
“We get excited more than anything and get really pumped up backstage.
“It’s just another show but with more people,” he added. “We treat every show the same—we’re there to entertain.
“If there’s 20 people or 1,000 people, we’ll always do the same show, regardless if it’s a big show or a little show,” Lovisa reiterated.
In addition to Cornshed’s performance, the band also will be participating in an “Emerging Artist Jam” as part of the festival’s workshop series.
The band will share the stage with Sherman to play music and discuss what it’s like to be a young artist in a competitive music industry.
Sletmoen, meanwhile, is thrilled that he was one of the local acts chosen to perform a short set as part of the festival’s call for musicians.
He thinks the festival is “an awesome idea” and is excited to have a chance to perform.
Sletmoen, who grew up in Fort Frances, always knew he wanted to play music and be in a band playing the bass.
But now he performs as a solo bassist with a unique electric acoustic bass.
He describes his own compositions as “progressive, has a loft of effect, and is on the trippy side of things.”
Sletmoen indicated his inspiration comes from a lot of different styles of music, with his favourite band being Tool.
He has won “Battle of the Bands” multiple times and believes the social side of performing is the most rewarding.
The “Harmony of Nations” Musical Festival will take place July 18-19 under the big tent at the Sorting Gap Marina.
It’s billed as bringing together Canadian, American, Métis, and First Nations’ communities into two days of entertainment and interactive workshops.
Tickets are available online at, or locally at the Fort Frances Public Library, Cloverleaf Grocery in Emo, and The Coffee Landing over in International Falls.

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