A warm summer night on Main Street in Watson was the perfect backdrop for Street Fest, the annual musical gathering put on by the Watson Fire Department. The festival went on Friday, June 23.
Eliza Mary Doyle kicked off the evening’s entertainment with an energetic set of bluegrass and honky tonk favourites. Doyle is a well-known Saskatchewan performer and songwriter whose work harkens back to the Flatt and Scruggs era of musical perfection, all with new songs that have a fresh twist. Up tempo string ticklers like “Another Round” and “Railroad Bill”, the legend of a purported rail-riding Robin Hood, had the audience clapping.
There were standards like Hank Williams’ Honky Tonk Blues and hurting songs like “We Could Have Had It All,” which Doyle described as the happiest break-up song ever. She wrapped up her set with a twist, a rock-a-billy rendition of Ozzy Ozborne’s “Crazy Train.”
Headliners Sask Steel brought their unique blend of country rock to the stage to round out the evening. Coming in third in the province’s Best Cover Band challenge, the five Ag College buddies brought a sonic pulse to the prairie skies with their adept musicianship and high-energy delivery. With a sound that’s inspired by contemporaries Zach Bryan and Hardy, but with a harkening to southern rock sounds like Lynyrd Skynyrd, lead singer Evan Zentner from LeRoy and his bandmates tore their way through a set of current standards along with their own new material. Along with the Glorious Son’s “White Noise”, Sask Steel performed their own numbers “Neon Crowd” and their upcoming single “Label You Gone.” Hailing from small town farms across the province, the members of Sask Steel proved they’re a homegrown new force in the Saskatchewan country music scene.
The Watson Fire Department celebrated their membership with photos, masterful barbecue tending, and hometown hospitality. If you couldn’t make the 2023 edition of Street Fest, put it on your calendar for next year.