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Arts & Culture(Archives)


Festivals Add Texture To Our Story

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After celebrating the most successful winterPLAY ever and attended by over 18,000 people, Events Wood Buffalo (EWB) is gearing up for a summer of unforgettable moments and memories.


There is something special about gathering under the stars and listening to awesome music and watching captivating performers in the great outdoors.

Be it children enthralled by street artists, the rock concert that has the audience ecstatic, or the sheer awe of seeing our northern sky light up with spectacular fireworks, there is one thing for sure: we know how to party! Canada Day, interPLAY, and the Big Spirit festival offer unpredictable fun and unique experiences that add wonderful texture to the Wood Buffalo story.

While EWB’s Canada Day and Big Spirit events are relatively new, interPLAY has been around for almost a quarter-century (the 25th interPLAY will happen during the 2015 Western Canada Summer Games). What began as a celebration of the visual and performing arts with a youth focus, has evolved into an arts explosion that offers entertainment and attractions for people of all ages, backgrounds and interests.

“There is no question that interPLAY is Fort McMurray’s signature summer event,” said Russell Thomas, municipal councillor and former president of the Fort McMurray interPLAY Society. “This festival is one of the anchors of the Fort McMurray experience. We’ve had people who have fallen in love at interPLAY, got married on interPLAY weekend, and gone on to have their babies during interPLAY. It is such a big part of our story.”

Distinctiveness is what makes Wood Buffalo unique. As an organization, it is EWB’s duty to facilitate our cultural playground by promoting the value of the live experience as people become wrapped up in the virtual worlds of television, computer games and the Internet. Successful festival cities throughout the world have demonstrated that the need for the innovative use of existing and new indoor and outdoor spaces is not only an attraction but an essential attribute for presenting signature world class events. Festivals that enjoy long-term critical and popular success are those that invest in their own development and in their relationship to their community.

On top of producing the region’s leading festivals, EWB also provides support in many other guises.

“We hold a large tent inventory and a beautiful portable stage which you will see at many events throughout the region. On top of managing our ever-expanding inventory, we help many of the region’s non-profits and other stakeholders with our services such as talent buying, event workshops, marketing, advice on health and safety matters and permits. We are very much a busy organization year round” said David Whitelock, executive director of EWB.

Volunteers play a crucial part in the activities of EWB, so if you’re reading this YMM article and want to become more involved in your community, why not connect with EWB and volunteer for one of the summer celebrations? It’s a great way to make a difference and an awesome way to meet new people. All you have to do is get in touch with the volunteer coordinator: You can also call 780-791-1600, or drop into the office located in the Kirschner Family Corporation building at Fraser and Main.

Make sure to follow EWB on Twitter (@Events_YMM) and like them on Facebook. They will be posting fun pictures and useful information throughout the festival season. Social media provides a great way to stay connected to all the opportunities that will be coming your way in 2013.

The future of Events Wood Buffalo is one of color, opportunity and excitement, driven by quality, innovation and diversity. Acting as a stimulus to the region’s cultural economy, EWB is an important mechanism for growth, embedding community links and fostering that all essential sense of pride.

Wood Buffalo, “Where the World Meets”—you bet!