It’s almost time for the Beach to be bopping once again with the sound of music and summer activities. Residents and visitors are looking forward to the return of one of the summer’s premier musical events - The Salt Shaker. The weekend-long musical extravaganza goes July 7 - 9 at a variety of venues, all on the shores of Little Manitou Lake at Manitou Beach.
The great part about the music at The Salt Shaker is there’s something for everyone, says one of the festival organizers, Julie Maier of the renowned band, The Garrys. The trio of sisters, Lenore, Erica and Julie have parlayed their truly unique surf twang and “do-wop” style into unforgettable and sometimes haunting melodies rooted in the prairie beaches. They’ll be joined by dozens of their musical friends performing a spectrum of styles.
“This will be the fourth year for the festival and the second year where we’ve expanded into multiple venues and multiple days, so we’re really excited,” says Maier.
The main music stage will be at historic Danceland, which gives festival goers the feeling of stepping back in time, says Maier. There will be other venues where music lovers can catch the tunes.
“We’re going to have an outdoor stage at Mike’s Beach Bar in the afternoon on Saturday. We’ll have a stage right on the beach volleyball court so people can sit on the patio and enjoy some tunes or even sit on the beach and hear music.”
The third venue within walking distance is the Little Manitou Art Gallery later in the evening. The relaxing garden venue with its intimate stage setting will welcome some of the eclectic lineup. The music will continue into the wee hours with after party events, including DJs and karaoke at Mike’s Beach Bar.
The bands come from all across western Canada and pack musical styles as diverse as the prairies themselves. Maier lists some of the lineup.
“The Bobby Tenderloin Universe is a band out of Edmonton who are coming - they’re kind of cosmic country. We have Mason Melle from Winnipeg with a 1970’s brand of country rock. We have Mulligrub also from Winnipeg, and a host of Saskatoon and Regina bands. If you check out our Facebook page, you can see who’s coming. We’re really excited about having folks from across the prairies coming to join us.”
The core group of volunteers putting on the festival includes the Maier sisters with help from Miranda Young, Duncan Pickard, Spencer Martin and Ezra Harvey. Each one of the volunteers bears unique interests and skills, and that allows the members to lean into the various facets of putting on a major weekend music festival.
Of course the people of Manitou Beach and Watrous area have embraced the festival and have proven themselves willing partners.
“Many hand make light work with a festival like this, so we’ll be putting out a call for volunteers soon. But we have lots of help from lots of different people. There are lots of local organizations and businesses who are chipping in a few hundred bucks or putting on side events just to make the weekend cooler and more exciting for people who are out.”
The Garrys themselves are excited to take the stage once again in their adopted home. In recent shows, the sisters have been performing with brother Matthew, adding a new dimension to the music and the show. It’ll be a welcome return after a tour that’s taken them a considerable distance.
“We’ve been able to travel a little bit this year, so we played in Sweden, and we did a little USA tour where we played in New York and Texas. Now we’re changing gears and getting ready for a bunch of summer events, the Salt Shaker among them.
While the all-inclusive weekend wristbands have sold out in deference to the smaller venues, there are still tickets available for "the Main event,” the Danceland show on Friday night.
Find out about all the excitement happening at Manitou Beach during this iconic music festival at The Salt Shaker Facebook page.
Enjoy the full interview with the Garrys' Julie Maier.