New Regina music festival to focus on truth and reconciliation

The first-of-its-kind festival for Western Canada will feature performers like Lindsay Knight, AKA Eekwol.

Forward Currents Festival will be held at MacKenzie Art Gallery in March

RSO music director Gordon Gerrard announced details Thursday about the Forward Currents Festival, which will focus on truth and reconciliation. (CBC News)

A new music festival in Regina is aiming to be the first of its kind in Western Canada. 

The MacKenzie Art Gallery and the Regina Symphony Orchestra are behind the Forward Currents festival, which will explore socially relevant issues through music and art.

Organizers hope the festival will spark conversations about issues affecting the community, including reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.

Musician Lindsay Knight, AKA Eekwol, will be performing at the new Forward Currents Festival in March 2018. (CBC News)

In line with this focus, the symphony will be partnering with Indigenous artists from different disciplines for a series of concerts.

A Buffy Sainte-Marie concert last month was part of that initiative.

One artist who will be performing in the festival is Lindsay Knight, AKA Eekwol, the Muskoday First Nation rapper.

Future is our children, Eekwol says

When Eekwol thinks about truth and reconciliation, she thinks about the future, she said.

"And the future is all of our children," Eekwol said.

"I have two little ones at home right now and everything that I do is for them so that they will grow up in something other than what I grew up in, so that they will be able to become adults and be proud of what they are."

It needs to happen and should happen and must happen.- Mayor Michael Fougere

Among those participating in the announcement at the art gallery Thursday was Regina Mayor Michael Fougere, who has been outspoken about the need to move forward on the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

"It's a topic that's not just timely here in Regina, Sask., but it's right across Canada. It is in the public domain, a public discussion. It needs to happen and should happen and must happen," Fougere said.

The Forward Currents Festival will take place March 2-4, 2018, at the MacKenzie Art Gallery.