The Coney Island 14th “Maybe Annual” Music Festival, presented by The Standard Insurance and Wawanesa Insurance, was held in Kenora Sunday July 24th.
Co-Founder Ferg Devins advised of the festival had to “pivot” yet again.
In 2020, in the midst of COVID, ConeyFest went from being a live event on the field on Coney Island in Kenora, to a streamed event from a private dock. This ensured appropriate social distancing with organizers and bands “masked” for the event and shuttled in groups of ten from the mainland to the island. The 2020 festival was a great success with up to 700 attendees viewing the festival “from the water”.
In 2021 ConeyFest returned to their Main Stage on Coney Island with appropriate distancing and safe practices encouraged.
In 2022 ConeyFest had to adapt and pivot once again, due to high waters on Lake of the Woods. This resulted in very little beach, unsafe and limited docking conditions and a field saturated in water in front of the stage given the rising water table.
Luckily the “Maybe Annual” Festival committee worked with the City of Kenora and Tourism Kenora staff to lockdown the White Cap Pavilion on the Winkler Harbourfront in Kenora to secure a venue for the 2022 festival.
“Although the magical family atmosphere of Coney Island, its beach and field were missed; the festival went ahead with 7 wonderful live music performing acts on the Main stage from noon to five pm”, said Devins. “We also added a wonderful kids performer “Big Mark” Labelle and a close up magician, Adam Rosner, wandering through the crowd under the tent and in the sunshine”.
Devins explained that the “maybe annual” moniker has stuck all of these years based on two factors. Firstly, the festival needs to ensure that there are enough volunteers prepared to work on the “free admission” event. Secondly, the committee needs to be confident there are enough resources from partners and patrons to stage the event.
Coney Island is located in the city limits of the City of Kenora and is a wonderful municipal park with a large beach, Main Stage structure and large field to accommodate over 2000 attendees. Coney Island is in the northern most channel of the Lake of the Woods with quick access to the mainland via shuttle or pleasure craft. In normal conditions, the MS Kenora will also make occasional trips to the island.
Devins advises that given the support of patrons to the festival this year and with the help of presenting partners The Standard Insurance and Wawanesa, along with the Kenora and Lake of the Woods Community Foundation, ConeyFest15 is a reality for 2023.
Coney Island “Maybe Annual” Music Festival is held on the last Sunday of July prior to the August Long Weekend.