Brantford songstress Missy Bauman will join several musical heavyweights on stage at the 2012 Greenbelt Harvest Picnic at Christie Lake Conservation Area on Saturday, Sept. 1.
Feist, Emmylou Harris, Daniel Lanois, Gord Downie and Sarah Harmer are among the luminaries slated to play the annual festival with Bauman, an Alliston native who has made a name for herself as a guitarist and singer in Stouffville and Brantford.
The 17-year-old Brantford Collegiate Institute student is excited to open the daylong festival with a 30-minute set, featuring original music and several cover songs.
“I was absolutely thrilled,” Bauman said of being chosen for the picnic.
How it happened was nothing short of serendipitous, she explained.
Greenbelt Harvest Picnic organizer Jean-Paul Gauthier of September Seventh Entertainment was in the crowd at a Pauline Johnson Collegiate event when Bauman filled in for a friend who couldn’t perform.
Gauthier, a teacher at PJ, liked what he heard and invited the young musician to join the bill.
“I was really kind of amazed. Fate just kind of played out,” Bauman said.
Gauthier announced Bauman’s inclusion in the picnic lineup at a press conference on Tuesday where the young singer played two songs to give the crowd a preview of her performance.
While she looks forward to meeting all her fellow performers, Bauman is most excited about the chance to talk shop with one of her idols.
“Sarah Harmer, hands down,” Bauman said. “I’ve always loved Sarah Harmer, and before we knew I was going to be playing, we were actually looking at buying tickets because I’ve never seen her live before.”
Bauman hopes she can chat with Harmer and other artists backstage to pick up songwriting tips.
“My songwriting process is really chaotic and busy and messy. I throw a song together in two minutes, or it’ll take two years,” Bauman said.
“I’ve never really talked to any professional songwriters before so I’ll definitely talk to them about their process (and see) if it’s as confusing and hectic as mine.”
Bauman said about half of the 100-plus songs she’s written since the ninth grade are fit to be performed in public.
“I just write music like crazy. It’s kind of an impulse,” she said. “I write in different personas. Not all of (the songs) are personal and exclusive to my life.”
Her first instrument was the ukelele, and she also plays banjo and piano.
But at Christie Lake she will take the stage with only her acoustic guitar and the lessons learned from a lifetime spent listening toJoni Mitchell, Said the Whale, Led Zeppelin and The Beatles.
Along with a full music lineup that also includes blues guitarist Jesse Cook, DJ Mix Master Mike, Baptist preacher Brady L. Blade, Sr. and the Hallelujah Train, picnickers can browse a local farmers’ market, participate in horticultural workshops led by the Mount Hamilton Horticultural Society, go trout fishing and take a refreshing swim.
Hearts Content Organic Farm from Brantford will be on hand offering freshly picked produce and free range eggs.
“We set out to create a music festival that would stand alone – great music, healthy prepared food, local farmers showcasing their creations, free water, a beautiful venue with activities like fishing, swimming, picnicking and just being able to lie under a tree,” Gauthier said. “We set out to create a festival for the people.”
To cover the full artistic spectrum, the picnic also features displays from local visual artists, including painters, sculptors, graphic artists and a blacksmith.
“The Greenbelt Harvest Picnic represents much of what the Greenbelt stands for, bringing together farmers, local, art and music,” said Burkhard Mausberg, CEO of the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation.
Gates open at 11 a.m., with the music starting at noon. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.harvestpicnic.ca.