Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Sampling the Trails,Tales and Tunes Festival - May 14-28, 2011

By Keith and Heather Nicol
This is a big year for the festival since it is celebrating its 5th anniversary and “it seems to be getting larger and more popular” organizer Shirley Montague told us.  “In fact, this year we have made it several days longer than it was in the past”. The Trails, Tales and Tunes Festival is centred in Norris Point in Gros Morne National Park and is a great mix of music workshops, interpretative walks and hikes, fancy dinners, boat tours and of course lots and lots of music. At times it is hard to choose what to do since there is so much to take in.  We arrived about 2:00 pm on Saturday, May 21 and had no sooner parked the car on the Norris Point waterfront than we could hear music from the Cat Stop. We wandered through the door only to see “Ennis” singing one of our favourite songs. While we listened to  ” Out from St. Leonards”  we were handed an event schedule and realized that there were many other activities going on at the Bonne Bay Marine Station (BBMS) right next door as well as other locations along the Norris Point Waterfront. In the Bonne Bay Marine Station there was a touch tank for kids, square dancing for adults, and story telling for all ages and stages. There are also many scheduled workshops for anyone interested in the tin whistle, drumming,  accordion, fiddle or step dancing so if you want some lessons by the “masters”, this festival has many opportunities.
       As we checked in at the Ocean View Hotel we were told not to linger since if we wanted seat for supper and to hear the “Singing Kitchen” at Pittman’s Family Restaurant that you needed to be there by 5:00 pm.  We arrived at 5:02 pm and there were only 2 places left in the entire restaurant and they were with a group that was already seated. They graciously told us to join them and we had a fine home cooked meal of fresh cod while 16 year old Karissa Janes from Moncton, N. Brunswick entertained us with her fiddle playing. After dinner we headed for the Town Hall to hear an amazing lineup of performers that included Ennis, Gordon Cormier, Cherry Jam,  George Woodhouse and Craig Young. Host Snook, kept everyone laughing between sets and when it ended Shirley Montague said” I think you would have trouble matching this range and quality of music in most big cities in Canada”. Given the final applause the audience certainly agreed. The Town Hall Concert ended at 10:00 pm and then there were two more choices-either the blues or traditional Newfoundland music.
      The next day (Sunday, May 22) things were not so hectic since we opted for the hike to the Lookout Hills. But also on the schedule was brunch on the EmmCat Tour Boat, sea kayaking, a songwriter’s circle, a fiddle workshop, a Wine Master’s Feast, the Singing Kitchen, and in the evening the Town Hall Concert followed by two choices of late night music.  The festival runs until May 29, 2011 so if you like either music and/or hiking and host of other activities in one of the most scenic places in the world, you should definitely check this event out.

More info:
Places to stay:
Rocky Harbour- The Ocean View Hotel -
Norris Point- Big Garden Cottages -

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