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Moosefest 2023: Rockin' Your Moose-stache Off!

Article and Photos by Melanie Macpherson (Shifting Focus Photography)

Katelyn Lehner closes out Moosefest 2023

On August 5, 2023, the tranquil town of Bellevue, Saskatchewan, transformed into a vibrant hub of music and festivity as Moosefest 2023 took center stage. This year's edition of the festival featured a captivating lineup of local talent and visiting acts from Edmonton, creating an all-day musical extravaganza that will definitely be a highlight of my summer.


The sun-drenched afternoon kicked off with Cupid's Heart, a Prince Albert-based duo consisting of a unique coupling of electric guitar and cello. The upbeat music paired with emotionally charged lyrics made for a great warm up act. I'm definitely a fan after hearing them live. What can I say? I'm a sucker for a funky beat and a good growl.

Cupid's Heart


As the event gathered momentum, The Brothers G, a young and bluesy country trio hailing from Hafford, Saskatchewan, took the stage. Their skillful musicianship captured the crowd's attention, cementing their position as a rising star in the local music scene. The set was a perfect blend of classic and contemporary, showcasing their undeniable talent.

The Brothers G


Saskatoon based Haunt Era followed, casting a spell over the audience with their live performance. Although new on the scene, the band's lineup of seasoned musicians hinted at the promise of a future album that would undoubtedly make waves in the music industry.

Haunt Era


As one of the few bands at Moosefest that I'd never seen before, I was stoked for Regina's Room 333. Several members played Moosefest last year as cover-band-extraordinaire, King For a Day, so I knew it would have to be good. The five-piece brought a delicious intensity to the stage, leaving an unmistakable mark on attendees with their heavy riffs and beautifully dark vocal harmonies. Hopefully this is only the beginning of upcoming shows for these guys, because this band truly needs to be seen live for full effect. On a related note... do you have any idea how hard it is to head bang while getting the perfect shot?

Room 333


I've covered Kit Langfield before, so I don't think it's any great secret that I’m a big fan. Langfield and The Brothers G once again brought the magic, with an easy comradery and a set list of seriously good songs. Their seamless collaboration proved once again that their musical chemistry might be more like alchemy.

Kit Langfield


Chesterfield was up next, and brought all the colour, fun, and entertainment they're known for. With a party-perfect blend of country, rock, funk and surf pop, they lightened things up and helped the crowd through the hottest part of the afternoon.

Chesterfield


Electric Religious and King of Foxes, both hailing from Edmonton, introduced a unique twist to the festival. With a shared lineup of four musicians, each band managed to bring its distinct flavor to the stage, captivating the audience with their danceable tunes and infectious energy.

King of Foxes and Electric Religious


Always a fun challenge to shoot, GreenWing brought their signature frenzied spectacle to the stage. With their enchanting blend of theatrics, catchy music and meaningful lyrics, these guys are so much fun to watch, even my 13 year old had to put down his phone.

GreenWing


At 11:30, Saskatchewan’s pop country sweetheart, Katelyn Lehner graced the stage as Moosefest's closing act. Lehner's set was a delightful blend of original hits and well-adapted covers that showcased her dynamic stage presence. Her performance ranged from passionate and intense to light-hearted and flirtatious, creating an immersive experience that resonated with the audience.

Katelyn Lehner


After more than 12 hours of nearly non-stop musical mayhem, the official event might have ended, but the party continued in the festival campground until the early hours of the morning. Moosefest 2023 proved to be an unmissable celebration of music, community, and unforgettable memories. As organizers and attendees reflected on the day's events, it was clear that Moosefest had once again solidified its reputation as a highlight of Saskatchewan's music scene, bringing together a diverse range of acts and a crowd that felt more like a big family for an experience that truly resonates with the spirit of the local music scene.

According to Kit Langfield, “Small local festivals obviously give smaller bands opportunities to get out there and play their music but there’s this deep sense of community that you feel there that you don’t get at a larger scale. The phrase it takes a village comes to mind because you see everyone there who’s either supported or is just discovering you, but you know who they are and where they came from and you know it’s genuine. People don’t just go to small festivals on a whim or because they heard about some headliner, they go because they truly deeply care about the bands that are playing and they actually want to be there, not because they think they’re supposed to be there, and when you are starting out or at a smaller level that means the absolute world and can give you the experience and confidence to be the musician you’ve always dreamed of.” He then went on to add, “My highlight of the weekend, besides my set with the Bros G, was actually hanging out backstage and playing pass with some glow-in-the-dark balls GreenWing had found, with some other assorted bands and people, it was completely meaningless and there were no rules or structure to it at all. Just felt like a bunch of dumb kids hanging out and fucking around like you would when you were a teenager. Felt very wholesome.” Which honestly describes this festival perfectly; a delightful mix of kids, dogs, adults on swing sets, and a campground full of old and new friends.

According to Moosefest organizer Mark Poppen, "We had a blast and it seemed everyone in attendance had a great time. I talked to a lot of people and asked them who their favorite act was so far and everyone had a different answer, which tells me we nailed the lineup". I asked him what the highlights of the weekend were for him. "Music the night before, music on stage, music at the campsites, music during our pancake breakfast. Everyone having a good time and getting a chance to discover the talent we have in this province (and Alberta, but Brandon is an SK export). I loved seeing artists from previous editions of MooseFest in the crowd and even organizers of another music festival came and checked out what we did. I believe we're creating a giant, happy family, or "herd", if you will."

Moosefest’s other organizer Joel Gaudet told me during an impromptu interview, “Leading up to an event like this, there are just so many things to think about, so many worries, so much anxiety. You just want everything to go well. All I can say is that it went so well, all those worries just seem stupid now.”


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