Festival Place set to celebrate 25 years

JUNO nominated Lindi Ortega kicks off September at Festival Place with her red boots and Òcountry gothic noirÓ persona. Steve Derpack, artistic director and facilities supervisor at Festival Place, said to expect afeisty, rockabilly mix Òdrenched in passion, heartache and country swaggerÓ (Huffington Post), including familiar songs like ÒTin StarÓ and ÒAshesÓ. Supplied.

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The line up has been in the making for a quarter-century.

This season, Festival Place will be celebrating its 25th anniversary. To help celebrate the milestone, the venue has a huge slate of performances scheduled, including a big anniversary show.

“There is a lot going on and we have around 100 shows, with a couple more to be announced,” explained Steve Derpack, artistic director and facilities supervisor at Festival Place. “We’ll hold the 25th anniversary show on Sept. 21, which is a musical review or medley from each of the 19 years we’ve had musicals. There will also be a musical performance with three choral groups and ex-pat James Clark, who cut his teeth here in Sherwood Park and he is coming back to do a performance on Monday, Sept. 23.”

The anniversary review will feature members of the casts of the many plays that have taken the stage at the Sherwood Park venue.

“It should be really exciting because they will get to see an amalgamation of everything that has happened to date in the building,” he said. “It is actually going to be held to the day of the anniversary and will be held exactly 25 years since the first day the building opened.”

That show costs $50 per ticket and it’s expected to sell out.

Before the big anniversary show, Festival Place will kick off the fall season with a number of shows this month from a wide variety of genres.

“We have a kickoff with Lindi Ortega on Sept. 5 and then we’ve got a diverse array of events for September in terms of variety,” he said. “We have a reggae show on the sixth, a fundraiser that features rhythm and blues with Terrell Edwards on Sept. 7, we’ve got a Celtic show with Leahy on Sept. 12, Tom Lavin and the Legendary Powder Blues band plays Sept. 14, and then we’ll move into our musical review.”

After that, the band MonkeyJunk will take to the stage on Sept. 25 and Lloyd Spiegel plays Sept. 26.

“There is something for everybody in terms of variety and there are tons of different shows to pick from, with an average of three to four shows per week,” added Derpack. “There should be something to satisfy everybody’s appetite.”

The Patio Series proved popular once again this year. A summer standard every Wednesday at the outdoor Community Centre courtyard, the concert series wrapped up on August 28.

“It was successful with a nice final evening with about 450-500 people coming out, which was a nice way to cap off the eight-week series,” noted the artistic director.

The artistic director said they would move the shows inside during the many rainy nights this summer but still saw a crowd of 300 to 350 attend. The Patio Series is now over but Derpack said another series would fill the void.

“We do have our Café Series kicking off and we have 18 shows scheduled right now in that series with a few more yet to be announced,” Derpack said.

If you’re interested in any of these shows, you can buy tickets at Tickemaster.ca or by visiting Festival Place’s box office.