It will be a party two years in the making when Mattawa’s Voyageur Days returns this July 22 for a weekend of music and events. “We’re ready to rock, we’ve been waiting for a while,” said Chelsey Grant, Mattawa’s communications coordinator.
Mayor Dean Backer agreed that after postponing the popular event for two years due to Covid, it’s great to finally bring it back. “It’s been a long two years,” Backer said, “and we look forward to having everybody come back and party with us.”
The party again takes place at Explorer’s Point on 401 Pine Street, and early-bird weekend passes are now on sale for $66.63. Wristbands can be purchased online via the Voyageur Days’ website.
Concerts kick off Friday evening with a full-on country music roster. Lipstick Rodeo opens for Nice Horse, and North Bay’s own Cory Marks will close the night. “It’s going to be a hell of a party,” Marks said in a promotional video for the event, “and I can’t wait to party with you.”
Saturday is for rockers, with Toe Jam Tequila opening for The Trews. The big ticket for the night is The Sheepdogs, who close the show.
Sunday is tribute day, with Practically Petty, Fleetwood Max, and Abbamania taking the stage. “We tried to get new artists here that haven’t been to Voyageur Days,” Grant said. It was also very important for the organizing committee to book Canadian acts—"all Canadian artists, that was really important for us.”
The committee has a big weekend in store. Besides the concerts, there are events occurring throughout the days, and the daytime events are free to attend. There will be a BMX bike stunt show, a firefighters’ demonstration, carnival games, a video game truck, and a car show.
Lots to take in, including “a vendors row this year with lots of food trucks and craft vendors.” Grant also mentioned they plan to “liven up downtown” this year and will have events at Annie’s Park on Main Street “a little park in between the buildings there, and we want to have some entertainment there and a beer garden.”
So far, the event has been getting “a lot of amazing support from the community for sponsorships,” Grant said, noting that more sponsorship opportunities remain available. “Everyone is very excited” to get tickets as well, she said. Her phone has been “off the hook” and the “inbox is exploding.”
“It’s going to be awesome, we’re really excited.”
David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of BayToday, a publication of Village Media. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.