Harvest Picnic

Saturday 3 September 2016

Last weekend, Dundas's Harvest Picnic celebrated its sixth festival amidst a heat wave. The line-up included Canadian legends Jim Cuddy and Ian Tyson, fan favourites Alan Doyle and Joel Plaskett, and Ryan Adams, the musician behind one of my favourite albums, Heartbreaker.

Over the years, I've heard and read rave reviews of Harvest Picnic, but high ticket prices and inaccessibility have kept me away. Despite an overall pro-farmer and pro-environment tone, Harvest Picnic doesn't offer shuttles to Christie Lake, located about twenty minutes outside Hamilton's core. Inaccessible by bus, the festival is a gem, but it's difficult to get to. As much as I would have loved to have seen Ryan Adams, I'm one of those non-driving millennials, so I stayed home. That said, my family has been looking to fill the void left by Festival of Friends' departure from Gage Park, so we bought Saturday tickets, and liked the festival so much we returned on Sunday. 

Reminiscent of Guelph's Hillside Festival, Harvest Picnic doesn't give off the commercial vibe of so many music festivals I've attended. Despite boasting some fantastic food vendors, including many local farmers, Harvest Picnic also allows guests to bring in their own food. Spread out on blankets, we ate homemade sandwiches and salads before hitting the food trucks and beer and wine vendor. Adding to the feeling of community, beer and wine drinkers weren't relegated to a tent or cage, as the entire area of the festival was licensed. 

Set against the backdrop of beautiful Christie Lake and the sounds of some of my favourite musicians, Harvest Picnic provided a welcoming environment. I hope to make it back next year. Anyone want to car pool? 

Here are just a few highlights of my Harvest Picnic weekend. 

Quills, one of my favourite shops on Locke Street, was there to introduce a new generation to the joy of typewriters. Read me gush about Quills in this post from last year.

I spent my childhood reading on blankets at folk festivals, and I haven't left that tradition behind. I'm just about finished devouring Where Am I Now: True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame by Mara Wilson, the book-loving sassy star of Matilda

Alan Doyle

Ian Tyson

Johnny Reid took to the crowd, kissing babies and hugging wives. He was remarkably charming and he gained a fan in me. 


  1. Looks like a very enjoy able event. Nice to see typewriters in use. The book truck brings back fond memories awaiting its arrival once a week when I was in a small town elementary school. It was the only way we had if we wanted to borrow a book as our town and school did not have a library.

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