Carp’s JoyFest brings music to the ridge

CARP – It was an eclectic line-up of musicians, a weekend of workshops and a surprise visit from the Northern Lights that helped light-up the inaugural JoyFest held at the Carp Ridge EcoWellness Centre over the long weekend.

JoyFest touched down on the Carp ridge to take advantage of the beautiful landscape, excellent acoustics and clear night sky for a festival with a focus on bringing joy to the hundreds that attended the two-day event Saturday, Aug. 31 and Sept. 1.

Megan Jerome Together Ensemble, The Gibson/Haneman Project, Angelique Francis, Coco Love Alcorn, Searson, The Sticky Keys, Acacia Lyra, Elage Mbaye, Crystal Cymbalogy and Oto-Wa Taiko were some of the musicians to take the main stage over the two days.

There was also laughter yoga, sing-outs, hula hoop jams, drums and dancing and Fire Weaver Sophie. There were workshops, forest therapy walks and even a conga line at one point.

It was an opportunity to enjoy the last long weekend of summer and it was a lot of fun.

“The weather has been incredible,” organizer Steph MacGregor of Fire in the Belly Adventures told West Carleton Online Sunday afternoon (Sept. 1).  “We even had the Northern Lights come out. We shut the stage lights down so we could see them. It was so dark and beautiful out here, it was a great view.”

It was a surprise addition, but it was par for the course for what the two organizers, MacGregor along with partner Kris Karpinski, were trying to achieve.

“Part of JoyFest is not having experiences come to you, but participating in experiences,” MacGregor said. “You have to participate in your own joy and that’s different for different people.”

That also allowed the organizers to offer a wide variety of performers.

“Because we focus on joy, we’re not wedged in to a genre,” MacGregor said.

Being able to host it on the grounds of the Carp Ridge EcoWellness Centre was a treat for the organizers.

“The Carp ridge is such a unique site,” MacGregor said. “This piece of land is amazing. We’re surrounded by big old trees. We can host forest walks. The learning centre allowed us to host certain workshops. There’s so much opportunity here.”

MacGregor and Karpinski say the inaugural JoyFest was also a learning experience.

“We’ll change it a little next year,” MacGregor said. “We’ll start a little later, maybe a different weekend.”

But the focus will remain on joy.