Online concert a ‘one-stop shop’ for music lovers

Brahm Buck

Breadcrumb Trail Links Music Local News Local Arts The FeSKival concert in Regina this weekend features five prominent Saskatchewan music acts along with options for food and accommodations. Author of the article: Greg Harder Munro & Patrick’s album cover for Give Me Your Rain. Photo by Nicole Belhumeur Reviews and […]

The FeSKival concert in Regina this weekend features five prominent Saskatchewan music acts along with options for food and accommodations.

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Heidi Munro is singing the praises of FeSKival — an innovative online music concept being staged this weekend to benefit Regina’s decimated hospitality sector.

Munro — one half of the Saskatoon-based duo Munro & Patrick — joins a stellar homegrown lineup which also includes JJ Voss, Jeff Straker, Jack Semple, and Belle Plaine. Their performances were pre-recorded in April from the Turvey Centre in Regina and edited into one big musical extravaganza that streams from Friday at noon to midnight on Monday.

The concert is accompanied by a full menu of options available from participating Regina restaurants. A wide variety of food-music combos can be purchased through the Tourism Regina website, with a deadline of Wednesday at 5 p.m.

People can watch the show from their own home or take advantage of a package that comes with $50 off a stay at a participating Regina hotel.

The concept — executed by Regina-based streaming platform GiGn — is intended to benefit the hospitality sector in addition to raising money for the Regina Food Bank.

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“This event that GiGn has created is long overdue,” said Munro, who grew up in Kennedy. “I think we all realize the unique role that we all play to make this industry go around and we have a new appreciation for each other (due to the COVID-19 pandemic). We’re super happy to be part of it and share that unique experience.

“I think it was brilliant.”

Munro also believes the Regina-based event has room to grow.

“It’s a great model for the whole province,” she said. “I hope they get an absolutely fantastic out-of-the-park response for this show and possibly take it to other communities to help out those hospitality industries.”

The entertainment and hospitality sectors have been among the hardest hit by COVID, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel as the province slowly begins to reopen for business.

FeSKival will help serve as a launching point by offering a “one-stop shop” for music, beverages, food and accommodations.

“It kind of came about as an initiative from the community for the community,” explained Chelsea Galloway, chief tourism and visitor growth officer for Tourism Regina. “We recognize a need to be able to help support our hospitality industry and our live entertainment industry and came up with this hybrid event. It’s almost a bridge for everybody while we’re still waiting for things to open up completely. The more that people can get out to support local … the better it’s going to be for our industry long term.”

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That includes musicians like Munro and Scott Patrick, who were award-winning singers and songwriters in their own right before joining forces three years ago and releasing their first studio album this spring. They collaborated on a seven-song extended-play record — titled Give Me Your Rain — but the multi-talented duo had to postpone its tour because of the pandemic.

They’ve still managed to stay busy through a variety of projects over the past 14 months — some together, some not. They performed numerous online shows and also had more time for writing and recording.

“As a duo we were able to kind of morph from that big-band stage into what was allowable in this pandemic,” said Munro, who called the new EP a mix of traditional country, acoustic pop, folk and soul. “Scott is a full-time musician — 100 per cent of his income is music. I’m probably about 75 per cent. It was super super tough (to make it work in a pandemic). We had to get quite creative.”

Although the show went on to some extent, it wasn’t the same.

Now, with restrictions slowly lifting, Munro and Patrick’s live bookings have started to roll in for their Summer Rain Tour.

“We probably had six or seven dates come in over the last week,” she said, noting that the gigs mostly range from backyard concerts to outdoor festivals, private events and some virtual shows.

“It’s an absolute blessing. It has me smiling to look at the calendar.”

Along the way, the pandemic has given Munro a new perspective on her work. In particular, she gained an even greater appreciation for performing in front of live audiences.

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“We thrive on the feeling we get from other people and from what we do,” she added. “A big part of us is serving other people and making them feel good and creating memories and leaving them with something that maybe makes a difference to them. Not having that, it really plays on you. But I think everybody is pretty resilient and we’re all extremely excited to be able to work again.”

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