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Summer Rush Festival permit gets approved by MD of Bonnyville

The Wild North Eclectic Society’s (WNES) Summer Rush Festival permit application was approved by council during the June 25 meeting.  

BONNYVILLE – The Wild North Eclectic Society’s (WNES) Summer Rush Festival permit application was approved by council during the June 25 meeting.  

The non-profit festival is to be held on Baywood Road near Cold Lake from Aug. 23 – 25.  

This was the fourth year organizers applied for the license.  

“Given the controlled success of the previous events, WNES is applying to have the event at the same location and in the same format - that is camping on site, family friendly environment, limited tickets available... will be a maximum of 500, plus the addition of approximately 100 musical artists volunteers and vendors,” according to information from the MD of Bonnyville.

“The Summer Rush festival will provide an opportunity to highlight and support local artisans vendors who will have the opportunity to participate at the festival free of charge.” 

Event president Kelsey Winterhalt spoke to the project’s desire to both elevate the arts, give opportunities to local artists and vendors, and create a community gathering with a focus on health and wellness.  

“I think all of Canada is kind of experiences difficulties with mental health and wellness. Everyone kind of needs to find a niche that will keep them positive and keep them healthy and active. It's nice to be able to offer all these little things to everyone that attends our festival,” said Kelsey. 

“We have the health and wellness - the yoga and the sound bath and breathing workshops along with the music. So, it's kind of a little bit of everything for all walks of life. We really tried to make it so that everyone has something that they'll take away from it,” continued Kelsey. 

Director Ben Winterhalt stressed the community's need for more artistic initiatives. The Summer Rush festival is a passion project that started with his band and other community musicians coming together after the pandemic for a mini concert. 

“That was kind of the start, and it was like - wow - this is something really special and it means a lot to everyone we know. We should put on a festival,” said Ben. 

Ben said the music festival was a natural progression. His vision for the market was for it to be an immersive experience of art - not.  

“Everything is unique in its own art form. When we got into the wellness side of the festival, it was to make everything an experience... To make it more hands-on where you're not just watching the music, you're getting involved.” 

Even buying a T-shirt at the festival is a creative experience as the designer has the customer pick out a design from a catalogue and specifically which shirt they want to be screen printed, right there. 

Camping and local alcohol vendors are included in the festival, and organizers report that patrons and campers are respectful and leave little mess to clean up. 

Kelsey spoke to how rewarding it is to see the local artists succeed and know that they’ve helped build a platform to showcase their talent.  

“Just getting their names out there and seeing them succeed in that area is awesome to see.” 



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