‘No canned music.’  These are the instructions when entering the Ness Creek Festival site. Held near Big River, Saskatchewan, the focus of the event is that festival goers create the experience, along side the scheduled performers.  A four-day community for the arts emerges.

Such a unique focus doesn’t attract your average music fan.  It brings out of the woodwork, some of Saskatchewan’s greatest artists, and strangest weirdo’s. The combination is sensational.  Whether you want to dust off your leotard and take part in a 70’s disco workshop, drum in the all night drumming circle, or help cook in the community kitchen, there is a niche waiting to be filled.

This year’s 20th anniversary celebration included the likes of The Deep Dark Woods, The Sadies, Zeus, and Crooked Creek, one of the festival’s originating bands. Even when the rainstorm Friday night turned the slogan “HappyNess”, into “SoggyNess”, the party didn’t slow.  Hot tea and live music was provided in a community tent for those who braved the storm and many campers made an extra bed for a new friend who couldn’t make it back to their site in the rain.

This community atmosphere has proven to be contagious.  The festival has grown from an “Ecological Fair” with 200 attendees back in 1989, to the 5,000 people strong festival of the arts it is today.

Check out www.nesscreek.com for information on the event and how you can take part in creating the Ness experience.