MANITOWANING – This year’s edition of the Wiikwemkoong Arts and Music Festival (WAMF) was almost another victim of the pandemic live performance, but thanks to some ingenuity, a partnership with the Township of Assiginack and a lot of hard work behind the scenes, the show will continue, albeit in a largely virtual location, this Friday, September 24.
Heading the online event, Blues Emperor Crystal Shawanda, who is home for a few weeks of R&R before resuming her 2021 tour of the southern United States. The lineup is relatively small, given the tight organizational timelines for setting things up, but host Jason Manitowabi assures The Expositor that the talent will more than make up for the shortlist.
“Basically it’s a flash festival,” Manitowabi said. “We only really confirmed the plans a few Fridays ago. That’s kind of how it turned out for a lot of things this year. They are announced and then canceled. We really didn’t know how things were going to turn out. But it looks like things are ready for this Friday. “
The venue was originally planned for Wiikwemkoong, but COVID-19 again lifted its head and it was deemed inadvisable to put WAMF in this community. “It was disappointing to have to make this decision,” admitted Manitowabi, “but then we were able to find something with Assiginack, which has been successful this year with small-scale events.”
This “something” was the opportunity to use the waterfront amphitheater in Manitowaning. In fact, Debajehmujig, the sponsors of WAMF, are currently working on a production that has a collaboration with a number of resources that will help put together a great experience.
Along with the incredible visual impact of Manitowaning Bay and the MS Norisle in the background, a small covered stage was made available and a live streaming company added their significant technological resources to Debaj’s already impressive mix.
The music is expected to start “around 3 p.m.,” Manitowabi said, but with a number of acts still in the works, things could get live even earlier. Among the artists performing on stage will be a Tom Petty Tribute Show, courtesy of Ms. Shawanda’s collaborators, Mason Animikwan and Everett Morrison, as well as the Kettle Point Brothers Wild Powerhouse.
The event will be broadcast live on the Debajehmujig Facebook page and on YouTube. Log on to facebook.com/DebajehmujigStorytellers or by searching for Debajehmujig Storytellers on YouTube.