Justin Rutledge stopped the Sault in its tracks (27 photos)Tuesday, September 11, 2012 by: Donna Hopper
About 400 music fans passed through the gates to enjoy the 2nd annual Tailfeathers Music Festival this past weekend.
The two-day live concert event saw the parking lot behind Loplops Gallery-Lounge transformed into a festival fairground as local talent Mark Kuntsi, Tea with Lincoln, Kalle Mattson, Shannon Moan, and Frank Deresti and The Lake Effect shared stage time with touring out-of-towners Scarlett Jane (Cindy Doire and Andrea Ramolo), Amanda Rheaume, the Sunparlour Players, Justin Rutledge, and The Sadies.
Festival organizer Steve Alexander told SooToday.com he decided to move the festival outside last year to coincide with the opening of the new Algoma University Downtown Residence just a few doors down from Loplops.
"We thought it was a great way to welcome new faces to our community and show them that choosing Sault Ste. Marie for their post secondary education was the right choice, that our downtown is an amazing place to live," he explained.
Alexander said he initially created the festival so area music fans could have something to look forward to as the end of summer approached.
"The beginning of September can be tough as the back to school/end of holidays really hits home," he told us. "People get down about it, but if they have something that they are looking forward to it helps ease the transition a bit."
A festival of this type doesn't come without its challenges however, especially when it's hosted outside in the downtown core.
Noise consideration is an obvious obstacle, and an ongoing issue for downtown music venues that Alexander hopes to approach City Council with in the very near future.
"We end out music early (last set is scheduled to end at 10 p.m.) so that we do not impose on [our neighbours] too much," he said.
"There is a lot of confusion when it comes to volume as Sault Ste. Marie is one of the only cities in Ontario to not pass a noise by-law. Without these rules and guidelines, it is extremely difficult to run the festival as organizers, residents, and enforcement officers have nothing to base their decisions on," he continued. "Everyone would be happier if their were rules in place to follow."
Although police offers were observed visiting the festival a few times throughout this year's event, the music continued without interruption.
Saturday's headliner, The Sadies, told Alexander they loved the festival, and thoroughly enjoyed the Sault audience and the experience of playing outside.
Justin Rutledge, who headlined Friday night, questioned why he has never played the Sault before and promised to come back.
He also stopped the entire audience in its tracks as he closed his performance with Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska with the lovely ladies of Scarlett Jane singing back-up (pictured).
"That was most amazing experience of the weekend," Alexander said of the performance.
The Sunparlour Players, who over the years have amassed a large and loyal local following, said they love playing the Sault so much that they often pass up gigs in other Northern Ontario communities in order to perform here.
Plans are already in the works for a bigger and better 2013 Tailfeathers Music Festival, Alexander told us.
"Next year I would like to expand the supporting program by increasing the number of venders we have on site. This may mean an increase in the actual footprint of the festival," he said.
Tailfeathers would like to thank The Duke of Windsor and The Party Palace for their patience and allowing the festival to take place, as well as Crank Sound Distribution for making it sound so good and making it happen.