CTV Northern Ontario: The arts and music festival unveils half of its programming

‘River and Sky; Arts in the Woods will be back this summer and organizers are planning an even bigger event than the previous year.

The annual camping arts and music festival has released the first half of its lineup, some of the headliners include Austra, Dilly Dally and the Pink Mountain Tops.

This year, they’re hoping for a more normal event with the province easing restrictions around the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Last year we had a lot of stages in place because there weren’t too many guidelines from the province, because we were right in the middle of the stage of the reopening plan, so it was kinda weird,” said Abigail Cassio, the festival’s executive director.

Attendees in 2021 were tested rapidly for COVID-19 on entry, there was limited capacity and strict protocols in place in hopes of keeping everyone safe.

Cassio said this year they are looking forward to more “pre-pandemic” vibes.

“This year we’re not going to have vaccination requirements because it’s a totally different game now,” she said. “We have such a high vaccination rate in Canada, a lot of people are getting their second and third doses, so we were more comfortable not having to have that requirement.”

The organizers have, however, provided some protocol-like options for those who are more nervous about larger-scale events.

They’ve added a camping option to tickets where that specific area has mandatory masking and they plan to make rapid testing available for those who want it.

“We are confident that we won’t have to have capacity limits because we have such a large outdoor space to work with,” she said.

River and Sky usually takes place every July on the banks of the Sturgeon River in Field, Ontario. The non-profit event is entering its 14th year. More information about the festival can be found here.