20th annual John Arcand Fiddle Fest keeps tradition alive

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The John Arcand Fiddle Fest marked its 20th anniversary this weekend with a fiddle contest, workshops and cultural

Now in its 20th year, the John Arcand Fiddle Fest brings together some of the best fiddle players in Saskatchewan.

Jordan Daniels, 15, is one of them.

“So many hours of hard work put in for the contest,” Daniels said. “It’s always the thing I look forward to in the summer.”

Daniels has been playing the fiddle for five years now.

“It was powerful, because I found out both of my great-grandpas played fiddle so I just really wanted to carry on their tradition,” Daniels said.

Daniels has won the junior Saskatchewan championships in back-to-back years, as well as the junior category at Fiddle Fest last year.

He credits his success to his teacher, John Arcand, the founder of the festival, also known as the Master of the Métis Fiddle.

The two perform at different events together throughout the year.

“My fiddle is one of John’s. It’s number five. He’s made 52 fiddles now, so it’s pretty old,” Daniels explained.

“When rock and roll music first started coming, fiddle music was just about dead,” Arcand said. “If it wasn’t for the people starting out as novices, it would die.”

Beyond the fiddle contest, the weekend features workshops and cultural camps all to preserve and promote music, culture and dance with a strong Métis theme.

“It came along better than I figured it [would], but the whole purpose of it all is to continue the traditions and the culture,” Arcand said.

“It’s really important because [the] culture is starting to die out now, and this really helps to bring it back to life,” Daniels said.

The festival wraps up on Sunday.

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