We are honoured to be joined this year by a stellar array of musicians from a variety of genres, coming from near and far to share their original and well-loved music with you. This year, the all-day performances will happen inside the Sharon Temple, which is famous for its perfect acoustics and tradition of music as a community spiritual experience.

Not a bad seat in the house! Loreena McKennitt even recorded “The Wind That Shakes the Barley” here recently… and it’s our musical home — and YOURS — for the whole day!

All the musicians have offered their talents to us in support of the York Region Food Network and the message of the day, that creativity is what brings humans together and keeps us human. You can show your support by purchasing their CDs and merchandise at the show!

Returning from previous Spiritfests are:

Clan Hannigan! Steafan Hannigan and Saskia Tomkins, based in Baltimore east of Toronto, and their lovely kids, are bringing songs, dance and instruments along with them.

They operate a business called Schmooosic — between them, they play and teach more instruments than you’ve even heard of, I bet. Heard of a nyckelharpa before? Nope, me neither. It’s just a treat to hear them perform. Both Steafan and Saskia play in many ensembles, and are in great demand as teachers and session musicians, playing folk trad and more eclectic genres.You can check out their websites and hear their music at these links:


just search”Steafan Hannigan” on YouTube for hours of musical enjoyment…


Saskia in “2ish” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XrnPPo1j3E

Singer/songwriter David Henman will be familiar to you — he was one of the founding members of April Wine, along with his brother Ritchie, cousin Jim and surviving member Myles Goodwyn. David was with the band from its inception in 1969 until 1973.
He played on the first three albums, and one of his songs, “Drop Your Guns”, was a top-forty hit in Canada, resulting in David receiving three platinum and two gold albums.
David moved to Toronto in 1986, and became the editor of Canadian Musician magazine for several years. As a journalist, he has interviewed everyone from Leonard Cohen and Celine Dion to Henry Rollins and Dwight Yoakam.

In 2010 David was inducted, along with past and former members of April Wine, into the Juno Awards Canadian Music Hall of Fame. On October 2nd, 2010, David joined April Wine on stage at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre at the CNE in Toronto for a sold out performance.

David brings his love of live performance, 100% original material and a track record of amazing songs for you to enjoy.



Karen MacLeod has a truly soaring and beautiful voice, and a brand new CD of her own material, called “Charmed.” We were charmed ourselves to have her join us for Spiritfest II, when she and Jason Pfeiffer played as “Gaedelica” — a transformative musical experience which set the prayers of the Carmina Gaedelica to music. We are so glad she is back! And I need a copy of that Charmed CD! I really hope she will sing “The Mist Covered Mountains” for us. Her rendition of it spooked me for a week. In the best possible way. She is offering a vocal workshop during the day that will be VERY exciting.


Karen MacLeod and Jason Pfeiffer as “Gaedelica”

The Elizabeth Riley Band hails from Ottawa, Ontario and probably wins the award for longest Spiritfest commute! We are thrilled to have them with us!

“Ottawa-based Elizabeth Riley Band has a raw, contagious sound, with original songs and interpretations inspired by bluegrass harmonies, folk classics, and alt and traditional country music.

It’s the Elizabeth Riley Band Montage!!!

Wielding banjo, acoustic and electric guitars, harmonica, djembe, stand-up snare and a porch board, these four singer-songwriters speak out about personal, social and political realities.  Their songs are infused with women’s lived experience.” And they have so much fun onstage!!!

They are Carmel Whittle, Sarah Ryan, Patricia Reynolds, and Jen Gilbert — and Patricia Reynolds will be offering a workshop on “Women of Rockabilly” which I am personally excited about — love rockabilly, but it’s pretty guy-dominated! To hear the music and learn more about the muse who inspired this band, visit http://www.elizabethrileyband.com/but-who-is-elizabeth-riley/  You can also find their performance videos on YouTube here: http://www.youtube.com/user/elizabethrileyband?ob=0 and on Facebook!

Neale Croucher is a local hero to us, a political activist and thinker with strong ties to the natural world. His first CD, Coastline, features his original songwriting and photography, creating “Soundscapes for the Soul.”  He was essential to the organization of Spiritfest III , designing and building a customized stage that has multimedia capability! There is great depth of meaning and nature-based wisdom in his music, and we are really looking forward to hearing him again, this time in the Temple itself.

Neale Croucher’s “Coastline” is voyage for the spirit.

And then… there’s the Appalachian Trance Project, an ensemble of musicians drawn together by their love of improvisation and fusion of old bluegrass and new Persian funk trance. They are: Janis McCallen, Tom Warney, Dave Rankine, Fernando Villalobos and Jason Pfeiffer. Difficult to define their sound — but you never leave in quite the same place as you arrived.

Janis McCallen and Tom Warney have studied and performed authentic Appalachian style folk music in the local area for decades, and bring a warmth and spiritual dimension to the group, along with the very trippy sound of a Shrutibox! Janis also creates intuitive and creative lyrics for the soundscapes of the group. For some of the background of their journey with music, check out  http://writinginthestudio.wordpress.com/2012/04/21/creating-culture-through-music/

Jason Pfeiffer is a Juno award-nominating instrumentalist (for his work with HAWP), plays in many wonderful trad folk and Celtic ensembles, and is in great demand as a teacher of Irish Flute at Riverside Celtic College and other schools. You can learn about just some of his recorded adventures at his website: http://www.thetriskellstudio.com Although he can’t join us this year, we are overjoyed to dedicate this entire festival to him, since he has been at every previous Spiritfest and made a huge contribution to our happiness at every one of them.

Jason Pfeiffer on Irish Flute

Dave Rankine, although previously known merely as an outstanding contemporary Celtic visual artist, is also now known as a musician, educator and healer. He has launched three previous Spiritfest events, runs a regular pay-what-you-can creativity workshop called The Mandala Experience, and created a number of CDs with music designed to facilitate creativity, energy work and healing. There`s too much to tell! So why not visit his website at www.davidrankineart.com and treat yourself to a visual and musical feast…

You can check out their music at http://davidrankineart.com/APPALACHIAN%20TRANCE%20PROJECT.htm and join them for an evening concert in the Sharon Temple, after Spiritfest ends at 5pm. Tickets are $15.00 and silent auction winners will be announced at intermission.