After disappearing for two years due to Covid, Voyageur Days is set to return to Mattawa this July 21. The three-day event will include “many new activities,” and have “something for everyone in the family,” explained Mattawa’s recreation manager, Renee Paquette.
Cancelling the festival’s last two scheduled appearances has provided Paquette and other organizers time to reflect on the vision of the festival, and they took this opportunity to ensure the fest provided entertainment and activities for a wide audience.
Music is still a highlight, and organizers are continuing that tradition, proudly booking a variety of Canadian bands. Paquette noted she’s “in the middle of securing all the entertainment for the entire weekend.” She could not provide specifics as to what bands are coming, but she “should have contracts in my hand by next week,” and the full lineup will be released soon after.
She did hint that it “will be a different lineup from what we’ve had in the past,” with “a lot of new music” on tap.
This year the festival will also have “a lot of entertainment downtown,” as organizers are working with the community to open the festival to involve more businesses and community groups.
The goal is to have “something for everyone, all day long,” and the day-time events outside of the main concert venue will be free.
“Everything going on during the day is free,” Paquette enthused, which is a great way to make the festival more accessible to residents and visitors, she added, with “tonnes of activities from 9 to 5,” such as axe throwing, a vendor’s market, “and some shows as well.”
To ensure these festive visions materialize, Mattawa’s council has approved a $300,000 budget for the event, and Paquette is working on securing grant funding as well.
A new logo has been approved for the festival, and a new website is coming as well. Right now, the designer is nailing down “the look, the colour, and the branding,” which is possible now that the new logo, designed by TWG Communications, has been “officially confirmed” by council.
Paquette is keeping the new logo under wraps for the time being, but all will be revealed in the upcoming weeks, as will the new website, which will be found at voyageurdays.ca, replacing voyageurdays.com.
Covid remains the elephant in the room, but Paquette says the show will go on. Voyageur Days is an outdoor event, which helps, and Explorer’s Point, where the concerts are held, can hold 10,000 people.
Paquette and crew are prepared for regulations affecting crowd capacity, so they have agreed to sell only 4,000 tickets this year. The cost will increase, and weekend passes will cost $65 dollars this year, up from around $50 for previous fests.
But it’s not just reduced capacity that is increasing prices. Paquette notes that everything is going up price wise, from renting porta-potties to the cost of bands.
As always, she’s working to secure sponsorships for the fest, and will be releasing sponsorship packages in the upcoming weeks. Between ticket sales, grants, funding from the town, and sponsors, the goal is to recoup all festival costs, or at least come close to breaking even. We want to be “fiscally responsible,” she emphasized, “and we don’t want to put the burden on the taxpayers.”
Anyone interested in sponsorship opportunities are encouraged to contact Paquette, as is anyone with ideas on how they could contribute to the festival. Her goal is to involve many within the community, and she can be reached at 705-744-2311 or via e-mail at [email protected]
“We really feel our festival is unique,” Paquette said, “the space where it’s located, the historical background, the years under our belt of successful events, and we’re excited for this year—we can’t wait to welcome everyone back.”
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.