Sarah Harmer performs at the 2014 Greenbelt Harvest Picnic.
At the end of August, we celebrated our fourth annual Greenbelt Harvest Picnic. Put on by Daniel Lanois and September Seventh Entertainment, the day was a celebration of music, food, and art.
While the music was front and centre, the many farmers, food vendors, artisans, and NGOs added a unique flavour that I can only see at the Greenbelt Harvest Picnic. From the most flavourful garlic to the juiciest grape tomatoes, you would not find the usual “burger and fries” fare at this event.
Guests came from across Ontario to enjoy the festival’s renowned musicians.
While the light rain caused a few umbrellas to pop up early in the day, the sky cleared, and by the time Bruce Cockburn came on and started his set with Silver Wheels, the stars were coming out. I had some celebrity jitters when I met Bruce Cockburn the night before, as he was one of my music icons in the 1980s and 1990s. So meeting him and finding him to be a very generous, calm, and kind person just furthered my awe of him. There is no rock star behaviour with Bruce Cockburn.
Musician Sarah Harmer was kind enough to play my request “Washington” from her latest record, in which she laments the fact that she didn’t go on a road trip to Washington when President Barack Obama was inaugurated, and found that regretful later.
Another musical peak for me was Daniel Lanois’ performance on the main stage. A fusion of electronic folk rock, it really left an impression. When I congratulated Daniel the next day on his performance, he smiled and said, “Yeah, we tried to bring the studio to the stage, and it really worked.”
Local farmers sold delicious fruits and vegetables.
It is a major highlight for me every year to see all the kids at the Picnic. I brought my daughters in the past, and there is comfort in letting your kids roam around at a festival, going to vendors, checking out the beach, and going for a swim, among many activities. One of our goals is to always keep children’s entrance free to allow families to attend the event.
Some photogenic swine joined in on the fun.
We’re already thinking about next year, and I’ve been in conversations with the producers about some new ideas that could make the Greenbelt Harvest Picnic even more special.
For more coverage, see the Globe and Mail piece, “Grey skies, sunny music at the Greenbelt Harvest Picnic.”