The Eaglewood Earth Festival started back in August 1989, founded by singer-songwriter Cheryl Gaudet with help from her partner Joe Ross at the Eaglewood Resort, a wheelchair accessible venue on Morning Glory Road in Pefferlaw. It began as a musician’s festival with wonderful music, artisans selling their wares, home cooked food, campfires at night and lots of opportunity to play with other songwriters. The early events were really grassroots, the group becoming better organized, until a not-for-profit status was granted to Eaglewood Earth Festival Inc. in March 1993.
Over the years, the festival evolved into three days, becoming the “EagleWood Folk Festival.” Funding was granted through various federal and provincial government arts programs and municipal community grants, allowing the organization to expand.
Despite attendance growth over two decades, the festival remained relatively obscure – a jewel among other larger, more mainstream folk festivals. When funding sources began drying up and the Eaglewood Resort was put up for sale in 2013, the very existence of the organization was jeopardized.
Thanks to the love of its patrons and actions by Board members, the EagleWood Folk Festival survived the rough ride. The sold out 25th-anniversary event in August 2014 was hosted at Living Landscapes, a farm property just minutes west of the old venue; a slimmed down version of recent events and reminiscent of the early years of the Eaglewood Earth Festival. In many ways, the newest iteration of the festival had reverted back to the original grassroots model.
Eaglewood is just a pleasant memory now – the final 26th festival was produced in August 2015. The not-for-profit organization struggled and finally called it quits, having endured several challenging years of dwindling grant funding, relocation, downsizing, bureaucratic red tape and volunteer exhaustion.
Canceled, but not forgotten…Eaglewood lives on as a fond remembrance.