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A celebration of arts and culture

Joel Plaskett and his father Bill Plaskett perform to a sold out audience at the opening concert of Writers at Woody Point 2013.

A celebration of arts and culture took place when the 10th annual Writers at Woody Point Festival was held from Aug. 13 to 18. Each year, the festival, which is coordinated and presented by Friends of Writers at Woody Point, sees provincial, national and international writers gather to share their work and to experience the arts and culture of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Festivities kicked off with a performance from acclaimed Canadian musician Joel Plaskett and his father Bill on Tuesday.

The main venue for the festival was the Woody Point Heritage Theatre but, because it was often so difficult to get a ticket for the venue, they expanded its scope to take place at the Merchant Warehouse, the Galliott Studio, and the Parks Canada Discovery Centre.

A second ‘Writers in the Wild’ walk was added this year, which took place at the Lowman River Trail and out on the Table Lands. It also incorporated an Environmental Theatre.

According to Stephen Brunt, founding organizer of Friends of Writers at Woody Point, the festival is a reflection of the unique arts and culture of the region and presents an opportunity to showcase that to other writers.

“You’ve got a really vital literary scene in Newfoundland already,” he says. “This province, of half a million people, produces a crazy number of great writers for a place that size.”

It is also an opportunity for the other writers to share different aspects of their culture of which Newfoundlanders may be unfamiliar. For instance, various genres of music were performed during the festivities.

According to Brunt, the festival allows for an informal meeting of the minds, where Newfoundlanders and other Canadian writers, as well as visitors, could get together at the local pub and converse and share experiences, as well as ideas.

“If you’re a visitor and you want to meet your favourite writer, who was at the festival, I guarantee you would have a chance to chat with them because it’s a tiny place,” says Brunt. “So we try to break down that wall so that the writers are accessible in an informal way and so that they feel they are integrated into the community a bit.”

With the success of the 10th Writers at Woody Point Festival now in the past, planning will soon start for next year’s event. Brunt says they’ll be holding a meeting before the end of the summer and will be looking to potentially expand the event, to incorporate what people enjoy best about the event.

Host Shelagh Rogers, of CBC, will also be returning again next year

Brunt encourages those who haven’t gotten out yet to join in on the fun during the next chapter.

“It’d be great for people to come down and experience it next August.”

by Stephen Roberts, Northern Pen
photo Tom Cochrane