Festivals get you in touch with your community

Aaron Stuckel
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It is my full-hearted belief that all of life should be lived like you are attending a music festival.

Anyone who has ever attended such an event knows what I mean. With music flowing through the open-air, laughter pervading every corner, and an overwhelming sense of community as people from all walks of life come together for a weekend to celebrate both art and culture, there is something about a good festival that lets the human spirit out to play.

Moose Jaw will be hosting the upcoming Freedom Fest over the July long weekend. I had a chance to speak with the organizer of the event, Tyco Huska.

Huska could be described as a hopeless romantic in many ways, based on the 20 or so minutes I had to talk to him. Yet I could not help but admire the love this man has for both art and culture. But mostly it was his love of Moose Jaw that I was drawn to.

Huska is 26 years old and he’s already owned three different restaurants in the city, and is working on opening his fourth. And a common thread among each of them is a stage for live music and art on the wall. To me, these offerings seemed like his way of giving back to the city he grew up in.

He said a big reason for the festival was the traditional complaint among young people: “There’s nothing to do.”

I grew up in Prince Albert, a city similar in size to Moose Jaw, and I can surely attest to those complaints. Weekends in my home city were often spent driving around, listening to tunes, waiting for graduation so I could move away and find “something to do.” I’m sure there is a few in Moose Jaw who could relate.

But one thing I didn’t realize in my days in P.A. was that there was a lot going on. And Huska captured it nicely when he said, “There’s lots to do. You just don’t know about it.”

Although Freedom Fest will offer a little something for everybody, it’s also a chance for the people of Moose Jaw and surrounding areas to see what this community has to offer. There are countless bands and artists that roll through this city on a weekly basis, but many people are too busy looking to Regina or Saskatoon for big-name concerts that they miss the talent in their own city.

Huska is not alone in his hunt to bring culture to Moose Jaw. There are countless people in this city who work tirelessly to bring “something to do” into their venues. The people at the Moose Jaw Cultural Centre are another good example.

I have to hand it to people like Huska, who at a young age had a dream to create a music festival, and has not yielded to any naysayers to achieve his goals. They make this city a more interesting place to live.

Freedom Fest is not for another two months and there are a number of other festivals that will take place before that (Festival of Words, Band and Choral Festival, Moose Jaw Festival of Dance). There is talent from across Canada at each one, and it beats sitting at home watching re-runs of American Idol.

I urge you all to get out and enjoy festival season. The worst that could happen is that you’ll be entertained. And who knows, you may find a newfound love for the city you live in.

Organizations: Freedom Fest, Moose Jaw Cultural Centre

Geographic location: Moose Jaw, Prince Albert, Regina Saskatoon Canada

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