SASKATOON, Saskatchewan – Luba Goy of Toronto, the dance ensembles Shumka and Volya of Edmonton, Ed Evanko of New York, the band Vechirny Dzvin of Montreal, Ron Cahute of Toronto as well as Yevshan, Lastiwka and Mria of Saskatoon – if you’ve attended the Vesna Festival in the past you’ve likely been treated to some of this Ukrainian talent.
The Vesna Festival has delivered a vast selection of Ukrainian culture from not only Saskatchewan, but from other provinces of Canada and beyond. One only has to look at old programs to see that the commitment to showcasing Ukrainian culture was paramount in the mission of the Vesna Festival. Vesna has always been different from other local festivals because of the extensive list of artists being showcased.
The current board of directors under the leadership of its chair, Karen Pidskalny, is looking to the future by going back to the founding core values of the festival – a throwback to Vesna’s roots. The move began last year with the band UB from Edmonton, Alberta, headlining the festival “zabava” (dance), as well as a return visit from Tavria from Regina, Saskatchewan.
“We’ve heard from guests and local performers that it would be nice to see out-of-town entertainment. So we listened,” says Ms. Pidskalny. This year there will be continuation of that theory as Vesna gets set for a lineup featuring the band Sloohai, which is bringing a Winnipeg (Manitoba) style to the zabava, and the Viter Ukrainian Dancers and Folk Choir from Edmonton. There will be an even stronger representation of Ukrainian artists from across Canada displayed in the artisan market, where guests can purchase pieces ranging from paintings to handcrafted jewelry.
Vesna is also honoring the rich local talent by including three younger dance groups and a children’s choir. Rushnychok, Vesnianka and Spivo Hrai will proudly showcase what Saskatoon has to offer. Mike Ciona of “CTV Morning Live” takes on the MC duties this year.
The Vesna Festival boasts one of the best Kolomyikas in Canada and this year will be no exception. Technicians are working to have the Kolomyika broadcast on screens in real time so guests who are outside of the circle can see the exciting showcase on the inside without leaving their seats.
Now in its 42nd year, the Vesna Festival continues to be an innovator in the Ukrainian festival scene. The ticket price includes a sit-down dinner, live dinner music, a children’s corner with take-home crafts, and all the fabulous Vesna hospitality guests have come to expect. Vesna Festival 2015 will take place on May 9 at Prairieland Park. Tickets are available at prairielandpark.tickets. For more information about Vesna visit vesnafestival.com.