Campbellford’s Westben presents live music and more at its open-air fall festival in September

John Showman and Chris Coole, Sarah Harmer, Melissa Payne and Ken Tizzard, JJ Jun Li Bui, Dave Gunning, and Kuné among the artists performing

John Showman and Chris Coole, Sarah Harmer, Melissa Payne and Ken Tizzard, JJ Jun Li Bui, Dave Gunning, and Kuné are performing at the fall open-air festival at Westben in Campbellford, running for three weekends from September 9 to 25, 2022. The festival also features three each of Westben's "Sound in Nature" series and community-focused "Sunday Discoveries" series. (kawarthaNOW collage of artist photos)
John Showman and Chris Coole, Sarah Harmer, Melissa Payne and Ken Tizzard, JJ Jun Li Bui, Dave Gunning, and Kuné are performing at the fall open-air festival at Westben in Campbellford, running for three weekends from September 9 to 25, 2022. The festival also features three each of Westben's "Sound in Nature" series and community-focused "Sunday Discoveries" series. (kawarthaNOW collage of artist photos)

After a successful summer festival this past July, Westben is continuing to celebrate its 23rd season with a fall open-air festival of live performance for three weekends in September.

John Showman and Chris Coole, Sarah Harmer, Melissa Payne and Ken Tizzard, JJ Jun Li Bui, Dave Gunning, and Kuné are among the musical acts performing on Friday evenings and Saturdays at Westben, located on a 50-acre farm near Campbellford in Northumberland County. The fall festival also features Westben’s “Sound in Nature” series on Saturday mornings and the community-focused “Sunday Discoveries” series.

The fall festival kicks off the evening of Friday, September 9th with a concert around The Campfire by John Showman and Chris Coole (The Foggy Hogtown Boys, The Lonesome Ace Stringband) who will perform their blend of old-time music, bluegrass, and folk. The following afternoon, Canadian singer-songwriter Sarah Harmer and her quartet will entertain the audience with a performance on Willow Hill.

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On the evening of Friday, September 16th, local musicians Melissa Payne and Ken Tizzard will share the stories behind their songs and perform around The Campfire. The following afternoon, young Canadian pianist JJ Jun Li Bui will perform works by Chopin, Debussy, and Stravinski in a concert at The Barn.

The next weekend, Nova Scotia’s folk singer-songwriter Dave Gunning will perform a concert around The Campfire on Friday evening (September 23), followed by a family-friendly concert on Willow Hill on Saturday afternoon by Kuné, a collective of 11 artists from Peru, Burkina Faso, Cuba, Ukraine, and more.

Westben is also presenting three instalments of its Saturday morning “Sound in Nature” series, where small groups meet on Willow Hill’s stage for an introduction to the area and its wildlife, followed by a guided nature walk into the Mary West Nature Reserve featuring special musical performances and experiences, and then refreshments, snacks and conversations with the artists around The Campfire.

"Chocolate Voices" on September 11, 2022 at The Barn at Westben features celebrity chocolatier Angela Roest teaming up with local Canadian opera singer Chris Cameron to host a sonic-food pairing, with performances by by tenor Keith Klassen and Westben artistic director and pianist Brian Finley. (Photo courtesy of Westben)
“Chocolate Voices” on September 11, 2022 at The Barn at Westben features celebrity chocolatier Angela Roest teaming up with local Canadian opera singer Chris Cameron to host a sonic-food pairing, with performances by by tenor Keith Klassen and Westben artistic director and pianist Brian Finley. (Photo courtesy of Westben)

“The Spirit of the Forest” — a guided walk through a magical forest filled with a gentle soundscape provided by Andy Thompson — takes place on the morning of Saturday, September 10th. The following Saturday morning, “Birds, Breezes … and a Quartet!” features the four creative musicians of Los Angeles’ Desert Quill Quartet improvising musical conversations with nature. On the morning of Saturday, September 24th, “Forest Soundprints” sees a naturalist and a team of happy young dancers lead the audience along forest paths as the musicians of the Desert Quill Quartet provide an improvised soundtrack.

Westben’s “Sunday Discoveries” series introduces audiences to some of the local area’s most talented and interesting people in the realms of art, cuisine, film, and music. On Sunday, September 11th, “Chocolate Voices” at The Barn sees internationally acclaimed local celebrity chocolatier Angela Roest of Centre & Main Chocolate teaming up with local Canadian opera singer and author Chris Cameron to host a sonic-food pairing, with performances by tenor Keith Klassen and Westben artistic director and pianist Brian Finley.

The following Sunday afternoon, “Cardboard & Quill” features award-winning animator and farmer bekky O’Neill from Cardboard Reality in Roseneath sharing some of her favourite animations on the big screen with improvised music by the Desert Quill Quartet. During the afternoon of Sunday, September 25th, Westben will present a screening of “Final Flight,” a short documentary tribute by Andy Thompson for the late local surgeon and modern renaissance man Dr. Adrian Hobart. His wife Barb will share some memories along with some of Dr. Hobart’s favourite musicians including mezzo Kim Dafoe, tenor Keith Klassen, clarinetist Peter Shackleton, and more.

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Here’s the full line-up for Westben’s fall festival along with dates and ticket prices (which do not include HST):

  • Showman & Coole – Friday, September 9 at 7 p.m. – Concert around The Campfire – Tickets $50 adult, $48 senior, $5 for those under 18
  • Spirit of the Forest – Saturday, September 10 at 10 a.m. – Mary West Nature Reserve – Tickets $55 adult, $53 senior, $5 for those under 18
  • Sarah Harmer – Saturday, September 10 at 2 p.m. – Concert on Willow Hill – Tickets $65 adult, $63 senior, $5 for those under 18
  • Chocolate Voices – Sunday, September 11 at 2 p.m. – At The Barn – Tickets $75 adult, $73 senior, $5 for those under 18
  • Payne & Tizzard – Friday, September 16 at 7 p.m. – Concert around The Campfire – Tickets $50 adult, $48 senior, $5 for those under 18
  • Birds, Breezes … and a Quartet! – Saturday, September 17 at 10 a.m. – Mary West Nature Reserve – Tickets $75 adult, $73 senior, $5 for those under 18
  • JJ Jun Li Bui – Saturday, September 17 at 2 p.m. – Concert at The Barn – Tickets $55 adult, $53 senior, $5 for those under 18
  • Cardboard & Quill – Sunday, September 18 at 2 p.m. – Concert at The Barn – Tickets $45 adult, $43 senior, $5 for those under 18
  • Dave Gunning – Friday, September 23 at 7 p.m. – Concert around The Campfire – Tickets $50 adult, $48 senior, $5 for those under 18
  • Forest Soundprints – Saturday, September 24 at 10 a.m. – Mary West Nature Reserve – Tickets $75 adult, $73 senior, $5 for those under 18
  • Kuné (family friendly) – Saturday, September 24 at 2 p.m. – Concert on Willow Hill – Tickets $45 adult, $43 senior, free for those under 18 (reservations required)
  • Final Flight Returns! – Sunday, September 25 at 2 p.m. – At The Barn – Free (RSVP required)

Single tickets for the Westben’s open-air fall festival are available online anytime at www.westben.ca or by calling the Westben box office at 705-653-5508 or toll free at 1-877-883-5777 (10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday).

Kuné, a collective of 11 artists from around the world, merge the music of their different cultures to create a distinctive sound. This family-friendly concert on Willow Hill at Westben takes place on September 24, 2022, with free tickets for anyone under 18. (Photo: Nicola Betts Photography)
Kuné, a collective of 11 artists from around the world, merge the music of their different cultures to create a distinctive sound. This family-friendly concert on Willow Hill at Westben takes place on September 24, 2022, with free tickets for anyone under 18. (Photo: Nicola Betts Photography)