SSW Music Camp
Friday January 23 to
Sunday January 25 , 2015
10th Annual Festival
Friday August 14 to
Sunday August 16, 2015


We are a non-profit society of members who do a whole heck of a lot to promote bluegrass and old time music all over Saskatchewan and beyond. We host a big Festival and Music Camp every August and during the year we keep ourselves busy with Old Time Dances, Concerts, Jams, Potlucks and generally too much fun. 



Interested in being on the Northern Lights Bluegrass mailing list? Subscribe now to get news on our festival, camp, and other events throughout the year! 

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 GPS 13 U 0379720, UTM 5971304

Map to Northern Lights Festival

Welcome to the Northern Lights
Bluegrass & Old Tyme Music Society

We are a non-profit society of members who do a whole heck of a lot to promote bluegrass and old time music all over Saskatchewan and beyond. We host a big Festival and Music Camp every August and during the year we keep ourselves busy with Old Time Dances, Concerts, Jams, Potlucks and generally too much fun.


Annual General Meeting 2015

We invite everyone to our AGM 2015.

March 14, 2015

2 PM

Place: TBA


Music in the Air: Shivering Strings West

The students/instructors at Shivering Strings West 2014!

Learning to play a musical instrument can sometimes feel like a daunting task. One of the best ways to increase your enjoyment of learning (while also increasing your probability of success) is to seek out quality instruction and support from a community of other learning players. The Shivering Strings West Music Camp provides an opportunity for both. 

Happening on January 23-25, 2015 in Saskatoon, Shivering Strings West provides hands-on workshops in fiddle, piano, clawhammer banjo, guitar and even cello! Some of Canada’s top fiddle instructors will be in attendance including Gordon Stobbe (Nova Scotia), Stacey Read (New Brunswick), Karrnel (Ontario), JJ Guy (Saskatoon) and Kim De LaForest (Saskatoon). In addition Daniel Koulack (Winnipeg), Lucas Welsh (Meadow Lake),  Eric Wright (Ontario) and Cath Sproule (Saskatoon) will be teaching back-up.

Register today:

Questions? Contact Cathy at

Still wondering whether Shivering Strings West is for you? Read about last year’s experience….

Music in the Air: Shivering Strings West
by Diane Reid
Feb 5 2014

 If you were walking down Broadway Avenue in Saskatoon on a recent Saturday you might have heard the distant sound of fiddles on the night air. You may have instantly recognized the dance music you grew up with on the prairies, or the tunes your fiddle teacher teaches you.

 Or maybe you had no idea what kind of music it was, but you are a fan of the recent revival in folk music and wanted to follow the sound. You found yourself climbing the stairs to St. Joseph's Hall, going through the door, and suddenly you were in the midst of more than 200 happy people of all ages, dancing dances whose names you would soon learn; everything from the waltz to the schottische, the polka to Saskatchewan's own Butterfly and more.

Some of Canada's finest old time dance fiddlers were on stage, brought together by the 4th annual Shivering Strings West Music Camp (SSW). The event, which attracted 70 students, was organized by the Old Time Music committee of the Northern Lights Bluegrass and Old Tyme Music Society. The purpose of the camp, said participant Jaxon Lalonde, 14, “is to get together and learn music together and have a good time.”

Fiddling in Saskatchewan dates back more than 200 years, so it only makes sense that people here are hungry for the music. NLBOTS recognizes this, and when board member Cathy Sproule first attended the original Shivering Strings Music Camp in Nova Scotia she spoke with Gord Stobbe about bringing his weekend camp concept west. A committee began working towards hosting Shivering Strings in Saskatoon.

Their work has paid off. This year 70 students came together to learn many styles of Canadian music  in a three day experience – a Friday night jam, two days of instruction, a Saturday night dance and a Sunday afternoon closing concert.  In addition to fiddle, the camp offers fiddle accompaniment classes for banjo, guitar, and piano.

SSW attracts top flight instructors, including Canadian Grand Masters Lifetime Achievement Award winner Stobbe and Canadian Folk Music Award winner Karrnnel Sawitsky. Teachers come from as far away as Nova Scotia, and as close as down the street, to participate in a learning experience specific to Shivering Strings.

Said SSW committee member Heather Pocock“What is unique about our camp is that the classes are sorted according to their playing level as usual, but instead of having one instructor [for the camp] the instructors rotate through each class ... everyone gets a chance to learn different tips and styles from them.  It's amazing what can be accomplished in such a short time”.

New this year were students from Kim de Laforest's school-based Blazin' Fiddles program. Sponsored by the Saskatoon Fiddle Orchestra, six young people enjoyed lessons from Manitoba's Marcel Harpel. When offered a chance to rest during the weekend, the six declined, saying they wanted to learn as much as possible.

Children were a big part of the weekend, whether dancing at the dance or taking lessons. SSW committee member  Paulette Atchison, speaking with warmth and enthusiasm, said that during the dance a group of children made a space for themselves in a corner of the dance floor and tried all the dances that the adults were doing. On Sunday, at the end of the camp, a little girl came up to Atchison and said “This was the best weekend ever of my life”.

Children, teenagers, and adults of all ages had a wonderful time at Shivering Strings West. Rekindling joy in the elders, passing on joy to the youth: the weekend left everyone glowing. And if you were the one hearing the music for the first time, when you left the dance on Saturday night you would have had an image in your mind of pure fun. You would have been humming a tune and breathing deep the unseasonably warm winter air with its promise of spring.

Watch last year's finale!

Register today:

Questions? Contact Cathy at


Bluegrass Brunch @ Bon Temps Cafe


Boxing Day Dance

The Old Tyme Committee is teaming up with the Saskatoon Fiddle Connections to host a fundraiser old time dance.  All ages are welcome!


Winding up for Winter :)

We are pleased to announce that we will be hosting the Shivering Strings West Music Camp on January 23 - 25, 2015. 

Leading up to this event the we will be hosting a Boxing Day Dance at St. Joseph Hall on Broadway Avenue.

Stay tuned for more information, registration, and great old time music connections.



2014 Camp and Festival - Media

The 9th Annual Northern Lights Bluegrass and Old Tyme Music Camp and Festival were great successes this year, with increased attendance at both! It was an unprecedented year for camp and the site was buzzing with more activity than ever during the festival. Everyone had a very fun time with ample opportunities to learn and to hear world-class musicians in the boreal forest. A BIG thank-you to all the generous volunteers and sponsors who made our camp and festival possible! 

The festival was covered by a variety of media outlets including: CTV Saskatoon Morning Live, CTV Regina Morning Live, Global TV Morning show, Saskatoon Star Phoenix, Bridges and Regina Leader-Post, Prince Albert Herald, paNOW, Shellbrook Chronicle, Big River Gateway, CBC Afternoon Edition, CBC Radio Canada's Pour faire un monde, CJVR's Bill's Breakfast, XM105FM, CFCR's Summer Fest, CJWW's Made in Canada, CJTR's Pickin' it Country, and other media!

Relive the week through some of these media links: 

PA Herald: Bluegrass and old-time music for young and old: Northern Lights Bluegrass Festival has something for everyone

Saskatoon Star Phoenix: A sound as big as Texas; Fast Fest Facts

Bridges and The Leader-Post: Bluegrass trio is a new generation with an old sound

CTV Morning Saskatoon: Video - The Cumberland Brothers perform Drunk on You

CTV Morning Regina: Pictures - The Grid Pickers

Global Morning Show: Video - Interview with and performance by Calvin Vollrath