Lucknow’s Music in the Fields getting bigger and better


By Barb McKay


This year’s Music in the Fields festival brought in $90,000 in revenue, much of which will help support local needs, according to Lucknow Kinsmen.


Kinsmen members Rick McMurray and Ken Irwin made a presentation to Huron-Kinloss council earlier this month to report on the success of this year’s music festival and ask for support for the 2013 event.


The third annual Music in the Fields, held in August, drew more than 3,000 spectators, most of whom stayed for the entire two-day festival. This year’s festival was headlined by Terri Clark and Travis Tritt and featured a variety of acts, including Aaron Lines, Chad Brownlee, One More Girl, Kira Isabella, The Stellas and the River Junction Band.


The Lucknow Kinsmen have donated $9,000 to each of three local hospitals, $4,000 to the Ripley 4-H livestock shelter and $10,000 to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the Kinsmen’s charity of choice. Proceeds will be distributed to further projects over the next few months.


In addition to proceeds, the Lucknow Kinsmen received a $75,000 Celebrate Ontario grant to grow the festival. A portion of the funds was used to purchase two large LED screens and add a mechanical bull. McMurray told council that the Kinsmen hope to attract another 1,000 visitors to next summer’s festival to increase profits to a point where revenue from the event will completely cover costs.


“We want to see a day where we won’t need a grant,” he said.


McMurray said that the Kinsmen are working with a social media marketing expert to promote the event in larger centres. One idea is to recruit interns from colleges and universities to hype up Music in the Fields at other concert events and in the schools.


Already, word has spread about the festival and the quality of the acts, McMurray said, and many festival goers are return visitors. At this year’s event, a whopping 94 per cent of people surveyed said they would be coming back.


“We’re getting our name out there, so that’s good,” he said.


The Lucknow Kinsmen have verbal agreements in place for next year’s Music in the Fields headliners, but McMurray said organizers are keeping their lips sealed until contracts are signed.


Like this year, festival goers will be able to camp throughout the weekend.


“The camping experience went really well this year,” McMurray said. “Double the income, for sure, and that’s something we’ll have to keep an eye on in the future to make sure we have enough space.”


Organizers also plan to bring back the Sepoy Saloon Showdown – a battle of the bands competition that allows winning bands to perform on a side stage between sets. This year the James Cameron Band and Kerosene Creek had the honour of performing. The festival also allowed another local talent to have her voice heard. Twelve-year-old Natalie Irwin sang the national anthem.


“We’ll always have a local person sing O’Canada,” McMurray said.


Again in 2013 organizers will hand out complimentary weekend passes to members of the Canadian Armed Forces. This year 150 passes were distributed.


Councillor Jim Hanna asked the Kinsmen if there was anything else the township could do to further support the event.


“I think I can speak for council in saying that we’re committed to supporting Music in the Fields,” he said.


McMurray replied that the township has done a lot to help out with the festival, from providing forklifts to even bringing in a bucket lift to help set up lights.


“We’re truly amazed at what a small community can do,” he said.