John Arcand’s gift of music was something he wanted to share and passed on to future generations, so he dreamed of a festival celebrating old time fiddle, music, dance and culture. And he followed that dream.
From 1998 until 2001, the two-day festival was a labor of love run personally by Arcand and his wife Vicki. It was not an easy initiative, but in their minds it was important and worth pursuing.
In 2001, the John Arcand Fiddle Fest became a non–profit corporation and in 2011 it received Charitable Status, allowing the festival to grow and flourish, reads a press statement. Thousands of people of locals attend the festival from across Western Canada.
The organization is proud of their many accomplishments, which includes putting a roof on the main stage facility, enhancing the comfort of attendees, the rental of it now provides fundraising for the organization. The festival is now four days long. The fiddle contest one of the largest in Western Canada. There are now more than 100 free workshops, entertainment and experiences with the Métis culture through the traditional art forms offered in the Cultural Camp.
The Arcands look back with pride as they embark on the 20th anniversary presentation.
“The dream has become a reality,” said John Arcand. “Celebrating 20 years is more than a milestone, it’s phenomenal and it proves that if you believe in what you’re doing and you stick to it, you can accomplish anything. I’m looking forward to the 20th anniversary, but I’m even more excited about the next 20 years. It’s amazing to me what’s been accomplished and how much more we can still do.”
John Arcand is Canada’s most decorated fiddle player and the recipient of numerous awards, including the Order of Canada. The Gabriel Dumont Institute is publishing a book on the Legacy of John Arcand and the Fiddle Fest and plans are to have the book launch at this year’s 20th anniversary event.
The 20th anniversary of the John Arcand Fiddle Fest will be held at Windy Acres, just 10 kms southwest of Saskatoon, August 10 to the 13.