I spent this past Friday & Saturday at Springwater Conservation Area, the venue for Culinary Camping. What's that you ask? Take camping - one of Canada's favorite forms of vacation relaxation & add culinary cooking. As much as you fry eggs and grill burgers, there shouldn't be any reason you cannot cook quality meals at your camp site. This event was created by Michelle Fournier and partner Glen Graham. Michelle operates CentrePiece Marketing. CentrePiece Marketing feeds the needs of both bands and venues providing professional music pairing, talent booking, consulting, and event planning services.
I show up Friday to see the venue and scout the area. Me being a foodie, I get out of my car to be tantalized by the smell of pork. Friday had a pig roast sponsored by Me & Suzies and for the first time I heard Joe Fournier play. I'm now a new fan. The stage was then ready for Lynn Miles. As she played, her guitarist played along without being introduced. A song went by... then Keith Glass's, (Guitarist for Prairie Oyster) was named. For those that didn't know he was going to be there, the cheers and shout outs were great.
As the cooking demo's finished the 'Glamping' contest opened. This was a contest to show off your camp site. Make it unique and win a prize.
By the time Barney Bentall and Anne Lindsay started, so did the rain. That didn't stop the crowd from getting closer to the stage and it turned into an acoustic jam session.
Michelle Fournier loves great Canadian music and bringing it live to local audiences. It's her business (Centrepiece Marketing) and her passion. She and partner Glen Graham also enjoy the outdoors and well-prepared, down-to-earth, good food. It was only natural that, together, they dreamed up an event to include a smorgasbord of Canadian talent, both musical and culinary.
Both chefs and musicians gave bountifully of their talents and enthusiasm, obviously loving the idea and supportive of Michelle Fournier and her fledgling event venture. There weren't big crowds, but the people in attendance were appreciative of the fun provided by the cooking demonstrations and the truly stellar music line-up.
Just before the last performance of Saturday evening was about to begin, the rain started to fall. That little weather glitch prompted a truly memorable musical happening for those in attendance.
Barney Bentall coaxed the scattered audience up to the edge of, and on the stage for an acoustic performance. His is not a booming voice, and you sometimes had to almost lean forward to catch the words he sang. He was joined by Anne Lindsay, violinist for Blue Rodeo, easier to hear, but still giving reason to lean in with the rest of those gathered to catch every musical nuance of her gifted playing, as the notes ranged from lively to haunting. Stephen Fearing came back on stage and lent his talents to what became a jam session, led along by Bentall's gentle singing, story-telling and joking.
Those in attendance at Culinary Camping were enthusiastic before the last performance of the evening - this unexpected, intimate musical ending to the weekend was one that left them very likely to invite friends to support a second annual Culinary Camping event.