Trent Bruner

Hi everyone!

I trust that you’re enjoying the end of summer wherever you are. Here is an article on the 2018 John Arcand Fiddle Fest as promised for Facebook and

The 21st annual John Arcand Fiddle Fest took place from August 9th-12th at Windy Acres, southwest of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. The weather was hot, dry and smoky (because of the large number of forest fires in British Columbia), but there was still a good attendance over the four days and many participants participated in the various workshops over the length of the festival. During the first two days, many workshops were offered in fiddle (with Calvin Vollrath, Patti Kusturok, Gord Stobbe, Fay MacKenzie, Daniel Gervais, Lucas Welsh, Tahnis Cunningham, Karrnnel Sawitsky & Rodney Krip), guitar and Red River Jigging (Yvonne Chartrand and Raymond Shumi), as well as in Metis cultural workshops, story telling, childrens’ corner and square dancing during daytime programming.

Solo entertainment during the daytime spots included Yours truly, J.J. Guy, country music singer Larry Krause, music trio Rural Routes (J.J. Guy, Lucas Welsh and Cathy Sproule) on Thursday, while Donlin Country, Tyler Kushneryk (of The Cleavers) with his special fiddling guest (and father) John Kushneryk and The Chickadees were the Friday afternoon entertainment.

The evening concerts were featuring a large variety of enertainers and various musical styles. On the Thursday night concert, country singer Jess Lee, step dancer Aline Gervais, the Guitar Instructors (featuring Freddie, Sheila and Clint Pelltier and Benjamin Knorr) and Ed Peekeekoot were well performed and enjoyed by all. The Friday night performance included traditional country artist Will Ballantyne, French-Canadian folk act Rivere Rouge (with fiddler Issac Beaudet, guitarist Jean Durocher and button accordionist Justin Bell), James and Desiree Steele (brother and sister playing fiddle and piano) and country singer Terri-Anne Strongarm. The Friday night entertainment concluded with an old time dance with The Cleavers (Rodney Krip, Tyler Kushneryk and Yours truly). For The Cleavers, it also served as the release of the music book that is in conjunction with the third album released by our trio earlier: Leave it to The Cleavers.

The fiddle contest portion began on Friday afternoon with the John Arcand Class, which was split into 12 and under, 18 and under, 19-54 and 55 and over classes. This contest class is a one round only class where the contestants play two tunes; a waltz and a tune of your choice, but it can only be John Arcand tunes that are featured in this class. In the regular classes, the Novice class (12 and under) requires only two tunes (waltz and a jig or reel), but the Junior (18 and under), Senior (60 and over), Open and Championship classes require a waltz, jig and reel in that order. Desiree Steele and I served as the house accompanists for the contest. 35 contestants competed over all the classes combined during this weekend. The fiddle contest is open to all with entry fee being the festival admission paid upon arrival. All the contest results can be found on their Facebook page ( For some of the fiddlers and for myself as an accompanist, it is one of Western Canada’s highlight fiddle contests of the year as it serves as a warm up for many Western Canadian fiddlers who will participate in the Canadian Grand Masters Fiddle Championship each year, which are the highlights for all who participate in the Canadian fiddle scene.

The Saturday night show included the fiddle workshop instructors, some of whom either were fiddlers for the Red River Jigging classes, contest judges, or fiddlers for the Creeland Dancers doing their Saturday afternoon dance demonstration and workshop. These people were: Calvin Vollrath, Patti Kusturok, Gord Stobbe, Fay MacKenzie, Daniel Gervais, Lucas Welsh, Tahnis Cunningham, Karrnnel Sawitsky & Rodney Krip. Clinton Pelletier played along side me on acoustic guitar. The Saturday night dance was played by Patti Kusturok and Yours truly, with Calvin Vollrath and Zachery Willer sharing the stage throughout the evening with us.

Before the Sunday fiddle finals took place, Freddie and Sheila Pelletier performed the Sunday Morning gospel hour with Calvin Vollrath and I sharing the stage with them. The 22nd annual John Arcand Fiddle Fest will take place the weekend of August 8th, 2019. More information will be released in the coming weeks and months ahead.

I have posted some event information via Facebook on the Canadian Grand Masters Fiddling Competition and the Pembroke Fiddle and Step Dance Contest, but will wait until the Pembroke Fiddle and Step Dance Contest is finished before posting my next article. Until next time, see you somewhere down the musical trail!

Musically yours, Trent