Gateway Jamboree returns

NNSL file photo
Linda Duford of Hay River performs at the Enterprise Gateway Jamboree in 2011.

The Enterprise Gateway Jamboree will be back for its 19th edition this coming weekend.

And if recent years are any indication, the annual festival of music and more will continue to grow.

“Every year it’s been getting bigger,” said Erin Porter, the community wellness and recreation co-ordinator with the Hamlet of Enterprise.

In recent years, attendance at the Gateway Jamboree has been close to 500, which is notable because Enterprise itself only has a population of just over 100 people.

“I do believe we get quite a few coming from a lot of the different communities in our general area,” said Porter, pointing to communities ranging from Fort Providence to Fort Smith. “I know a lot of our entertainment comes from all over and they bring people with them.”

Many of the participants and performers come from Hay River.

“I do believe, even though it’s been around for a long time, more and more people find out about it,” said Porter. “It becomes bigger every year because of that.”

What people have come to know as the Gateway Jamboree – a family-friendly day of music, food, games and various events – will take place on Aug. 12.

On the evening of Aug. 11, there will also be an adults-only jam session and open mic fundraiser for the Enterprise Fire Department.

The Gateway Jamboree is the biggest annual event in Enterprise.

This year, there is an organizational change as the Hamlet of Enterprise will be running the festival.

The former organizers, the Enterprise Gateway Jamboree Society, lobbied hamlet council for the change.

The society’s Winnie Cadieux said the festival was becoming a little too much for a group of volunteers.

“The event has been growing. We have 400 or 500 people every year. More and more entertainers want to come,” she said. “It was becoming quite a chore for the small society we had to do it.”

When it was a settlement, Cadieux said, the community ran the Gateway Jamboree from 1999 to about 2008.

“When the hamlet came in, the administration at the time wasn’t prepared to do it and they asked that we form a society,” she recalled.

This year, the society is assisting the hamlet with running the festival with information and knowledge.

“So the society members are still volunteering as much as they can to help this,” said Cadieux.

She said the society is very happy about the change.

“And next year is the 20th anniversary of the festival,” she noted. “So it’s pretty exciting because again the hamlet has the ability to put money in it, raise money for it, and start building it more and keep it growing.”

Porter and another hamlet employee are the main organizers of this year’s festival.

“Hopefully this year is just as good as last, if not better,” she said. “I mean we continue to have new ideas and fresh ideas.”

Porter said people can expect to see many of their favourite performers back at the festival.