April Glaicar is pleased with the evolution of the Hay Days Music, Arts & Culture Festival.
Glaicar has been the event’s co-ordinator since the Rotary Club of Hay River Sunrise began running it in 2017.
“Overall, we’re really quite pleased with how things have evolved in the two years that we’ve been working on it with Rotary,” she said.
Glaicar noted there are just a few changes for this year’s festival, set for July 2-6.
“We didn’t add specifically new events to the week because we’ve got a pretty jam-packed five days as it is,” she said. “What we’ve added that we’re quite pleased about is we’ve expanded our offering of children/youth workshops.”
Glaicar pointed to a workshop by Mandy Morris, a jazz performer from Calgary who will be offering a workshop and having Hay River children singing with her at the Community Beach Party.
“One of the things we considered when we chose to bring her into Hay River was that she was prepared to offer jazz workshops for children,” said Glaicar.
Hay River musician Linda Duford will also be offering introduction to fiddle workshops for children and adults, along with a bucket drumming workshop for youth.
Judy West-Pratt will be facilitating two introduction to drama workshops for children and youth, and they will present a performance after the workshop at the Hay River Heritage Centre.
Glaicar said those workshops are the most significant additions to this year’s festival, and she is pleased with the changes.
She added that, overall, there are not many other changes to the festival from the 2018 event.
“We were really pleased with last year,” she said. “We haven’t dropped any events, and other than the addition of the youth workshop participants performing at two events we haven’t added any new events.”
Glaicar explained the festival is being developed methodically for longevity.
“So we’re trying to do things and get them solid before we put more on our plate,” she said. “We’re a small core group of people that make the festival happen. There are six members that make this festival happen, and then the volunteers that we rely on.”
Aside from the new workshops, Glaicar mentioned two new features of the street festival in front of the Rec Centre.
The NWT Literacy Council is bringing a Bison Bus, which has family games and activities inside of it, and children can take home a book from the bus.
There will also be a virtual reality art exhibit called Northern Sights in which people can put on virtual reality goggles and go through the exhibit featuring the works of five NWT artists.