The inaugural BIGLAKE Festival, an exciting live music celebration formerly known as Wellington Water Week, is happening August 20-27 in and around the village of Wellington.
Co-founders of BIGLAKE Arts and the festival Johannes Debus and Elissa Lee are thrilled to be organizing a live, in-person event after the COVID-19 pandemic halted everything in its path a year ago.
“Covid has affected all our lives on every level,” expressed Debus, Artistis Director of the festival. “As we all know things came to a halt in term of live performances so we are incredible delighted we can come back with the festival to live performance mode. And of course you can imagine the planning towards the festival was a bit like, okay here is plan A, okay the regulations have changed what’s plan B, oh the regulations changed again now plan C. In a way it was ironically a creative challenge or exercise but in an ultimately positive way. Sometimes frustrating of course because you come up with a plan and you think it’s really fantastic and it would work and then your confronted with again new regulations that don’t allow you to go ahead with that and then you have to rethink, and we believe we have found a wonderful solution that is Covid safe and will delight people.”
BIGLAKE Arts is an organization with a dream of building a playground for interdisciplinary performance and collaboration. Perched on the shores of Lake Ontario in Wellington, with its flourishing wineries and vibrant artistic community, BIGLAKE’s inspiring home location stands to be a creative nexus in the heart of Canada’s largest economic and cultural corridor: the Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal region.
For opening night, Global Groves is back by popular demand, renowned brother-sister duo Cheng2, Brian and Silvie Cheng, returns to Wellington to wow their audiences with their “tremendous mastery of their instruments” and “range of expression and depth of presentation that really belongs to the finest.” Bryan Cheng plays the Canada Council for the Arts 1696 “Bonjour” Stradivari, here is a chance to hear it in a quintessential barnyard County setting. We invite you to experience the exquisite sounds of this masterful duo and priceless instrument in Cold Creek’s charming barn, and enjoy a musical journey around the globe. Cold Creek Vineyards, Friday August 20 7:00pm Tickets $40-$45.
“I was five when I started playing piano,” Silvie said. “Neither of our parents are musicians and at least for myself I discovered it along side other hobbies like painting and figure skating and all these kinds of things but music I think just became the passion I was not only good at but also loved the most perhaps out of all my other activities.
But it was a very organic kind of discovery it was never really planned that we would play together but I think Brian being six years younger then I am he grew up in a relatively musical household and that he would hear music around and he would be dancing along in his diaper when I practiced at home as a kid and he would come to all of my little studios recitals so he was definitely around music.”
“When I was three I expressed the wish to play an instrument myself but something different from Silvie so I didn’t want to play piano,” added Brian. “And our parents didn’t know what other instruments were out there, they hadn’t been exposed to it growing up, so they brought me to the local SuzukiMusic school in Ottawa and I just listened to a bunch of classes of all the different instruments and ended up settling on the cello because I loved the dark and scary sounds was how I described it back then.”
Other acts include:
Poème Symphonique- Poème Symphonique is a work composed by Hungarian composer György Ligeti in 1962, for 100 mechanical metronomes, all set to tick at random different speeds, beginning and ending with silence. This work was intentionally composed as a critique to a so-called radical contemporary scene. Ligeti said “I am in some measure proud that I could express criticism without any text, with music alone.” The Lodge, Wellington Saturday, August 21 – Tuesday, August 24 Tickets $10
Fiddlers on the Barn – Stomp your hooves and wag your tails with all types of dance tunes, performed by multi talented and award-winning violinist couple Drew Jurecka and Rebekka Wolkstein. This event will be a real county experience – our performers will be playing from the barn, overlooking the paddock, where the audience will be standing and enjoying the concert, instead of the alpacas! Saturday, August 21 5:00pm SHED Chetwyn Farm, Hillier Tickets $10-$25 This is a kid friendly event!
“It feels great to be part of an actually in person event,” Jurecka said. “It’s been over a year and I think with a couple of isolated outdoor concerts, its basically been since March since we’ve been doing concerts and so were very excited to start playing live again.”
“I come from a family of musicians,” stated Wolkstein. “My father was a piano professor, my mom is a harpist all professional musicians. My moms whole family is full of musicians so it was only natural that my siblings and I played music and now Drew and I teach our young daughters to play the violin and piano and my mom teaches them the harp. We make family music videos. We compose our own music as well, we improvise, we compose, Drew is an arranger, he’s a producer he’s a bunch of things. If you watch the video I think you can get a sense that were playful performers and were trying over all during Covid we’ve been trying to bring some joy to people so that’s where those videos come in and I think the tie in with the concert is the same, we want to give people a break from this stressful period.”
To watch their family music video please visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HmwbpgYjEWk
The rest of the BIGLAKE Festival lineup includes:
- Hoops and Loops, together with violist Ryan Davis. Sunday, August 22 11:00am Wellington Heritage Museum, Wellington. Tickets $10 This is a kid friendly event!
- Musical Promenade Sunday, August 22 3:00pm Starting Point: 310/312 Main Street, Wellington Tickets $10-$45 This is a kid friendly event!
- Lakeside Accordion with Michael Bridge. Monday, August 23 5:00pm Drake Devonshire, Wellington. Tickets $10-$25 This is a kid friendly event!
- VC2 Bring Your Own Picnic Concert. Tuesday, August 24 7:00pm Loch Mór Cidery, Hillier. Tickets $40-$45 This is a kid friendly event!
- Jazz Notes Wine tasting concert. Wednesday, August 25 7:00pm Karlo Estates, Wellington. Tickets $70-$75
- Bach Goldberg Variations Candlelight Concert. Thursday, August 26 7:00pm Cold Creek Vineyard, Wellington. Tickets $40-$45
- Champagne Arias. Friday, August 27 7:00pm Grange of Prince Edward Estate Vineyards and Winery, Hillier. Tickets $70-$75
BIGLAKE Festival event prices vary, please visit the website for details. Senior and student pricing available.
“I think with any festival or any musical event it’s really to touch people, to lift peoples spirit emotionally,” said Lee, Executive Director of the festival. “I had spoken to other interviewees when we were confronted with the question what is essential and what’s not essential, we came away from all of this realizing how important all of this sort of internal things we all need in our lives and music is certainly something that touches everybody on levels we can’t even begin to describe and that’s why were so passionate about what we do and believe in the importance of it and making sure we ‘feed’ people with music.”
For more information on BIGLAKE Festival or to purchase tickets please visit https://biglakefest.com