Summerfolk is the crown jewel that lies at the centre of Owen Sound’s summertime cultural heart. Its sound and energy ring throughout the harbour, into the downtown, and up the east and west hills – filling the Corkscrew City with an addictive culture of its very own.
As far as a music festival experience goes, Summerfolk is its own beast, making waves throughout the province as a champion of the workshop sphere, inviting musicians to pair up and improvise tunes on-the-fly, sharing audible identities from all over the world. It’s this diasporic spark of innovation, unlikely partnerships, and collaboration that have contributed to Summerfolk’s reputation – and when it comes time to recharge and fuel up on the festival grounds, this folk-inspired mantra of sharing and creative fusion carries into food vendors territory as well.
Your parents’ Summerfolk may have been all hamburgers and lemonade, but over the past decade, the culinary delights of Owen Sound’s favourite festival have progressed immensely, harnessing the talents of some of the province’s best mobile chefs who bring global fare and mouthwatering delights to the forefront of discussion. Here are some of the newcomers and festival favourites that deserve your patronage this August:
One of my personal favourites, Roti Mon typically sits near the Cafe of the Senses on the north end of the festival grounds, and offers up a mean curry chicken, goat, or veggie roti, killer samosas (the tamarind sauce is legit and a half), as well as pakora and butter chicken.
La Novela Food Truck
Straight from the 6ix’s Bathurst St, and new for Sumemrfolk43 is La Novela Food Truck, making authentic Latin and Cuban food a surefire staple of this year’s festival experience. Expect to salivate over carnita, baja fish, cochinita, tinga chicken, sandwiches, Cuban and carne Asada, burritos, and cheese empanadas.
The Flying Chestnut Kitchen
A relative newcomer and fest favourite, hailing from Eugenia and led by Chef Shawn Adler, The Flying Chestnut offers up traditional Pow Wow style Ojibway tacos using local Grey County beef and local cheddar – you can get one made up fresh in a vegetarian option, too. The Summerfolk43 food vendor brochure also notes the presence of fresh-shucked oysters for this year – so there’s that to look forward to.
Big Bay General Store
The stone-skipping capital of Canada is well represented at Summerolk43 with the Big Bay General Store and its infamously delicious homemade ice cream using local/seasonal ingredients. Boasting 120 flavours at their store, expect a festival selection that could include spicy Aztec chocolate, pumpkin pie, apricot brandy, chocolate caramel pecan, salted caramel – and classics like blueberry, lemon, maple walnut, and pralines & cream.
Apple Fritter Factory
Ever wish you could stroll around the artisan village stuffing an entire tray of freshly made apple fritters into your being? Me too – and now we can! Made fresh-on-site, the Apple Fritter Factory comes to Summerfolk43 offering funnel cakes, funnel fries, hand-dipped corn dogs, and you guessed it – apple fritters.
If you’re feeling like a healthier approach to your weekend is more your style, look no further than locals, Creative Choices – offering up gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan cuisine that includes dessert treats like brownies, date squares and cookies – as well as lunch fare like grilled cheese with havarti, cheddar, and veggie slaw, stuffed white/sweet potato jackets with your choice of spicy dhal & chutney or veggie chili with avocado cream.
All Smoked Up
All hail the Blooming Onion! Another Summerfolk mainstay, All Smoked Up comes to the proverbial table with all the pulled pork, beef brisket, Montreal smoked meat, and peameal bacon on a bun your little folkie heart could ask for. Couple any of those rich offerings with a paper bag of freshly fried angel chips or the deceptively simple blooming onion for a music fest meal you won’t soon forget.
Other Incredible Mentions
Our picks are certainly not the be-all-end-all food features available at Kelso Beach this year, some other notable vendors include:
-The Bavarian Hut (currywurst and schnitzel, anyone?)
-Just A Cup (killer coffee)
-Know Thyself As Soul Foundation (corn on the cob for days)
-The Ultimate Food Truck (can’t discount that old school burger, or fries n gravy)
-Maria’s Gelato & Grill (Italian beef sandwiches and dolce gelato)
So come for the music and camaraderie of Owen Sound’s archetypal shoreline music fest, and stay for the mouth-watering global cuisine. Summerfolk43 gets underway August 17-19 at Kelso Beach Park in Owen Sound.
Written by Nelson Phillips
Images by Good Noise