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Larry on the Lake

Photo by Jake Thomas of Riley Lake Productions

This summer, Larry Berrio's tour of Ontario brought him home to Sudbury's Lake Wanapitei where he performed at the first annual Sandbanks Concert.



The pristine sandbanks on the north shore of Lake Wanapitei are a pretty unusual spot for a concert. Which is exactly why we decided to throw a bash out there on the water and invite all our friends. Read on to find out the story of our wilderness waterfront show just a few kilometres away from my hometown of Sudbury, Ontario.

Beautiful Lake Wanapitei is a popular spot in the summer. The lake (situated in an old meteorite crater) is about a 30-minute drive from downtown Sudbury which makes it a convenient spot to vacation and relax whenever the weather is warm enough.

Dramatic aerial view of Lake Wanapitei courtesy of Wikipedia

I think a lot of people don’t know that part of Northeastern Ontario is pretty incredible. Sure—you’ve got the rock that we’re famous for. The mining industry is what made our city what it is today. But to the north you’ve got horse ranches, livestock farms, farmers growing everything from strawberries to potatoes, rolling hills and plenty of places to play—including beautiful lakes for the perfect day on the water. 

And I’ll tell you—Lake Wanapitei is about as perfect as you can get. Which is why performing there was such a dream come true. We got the idea from my wife's cousin, Laurie Howard-Ryan. She and her partner, Herb, took my wife and I out on the lake last year. We were cruising around and she brought up the idea of doing a show out there. I just knew immediately we had to make it happen. We secured the dates, did some fundraising, and man was it all worth it! 

Load-in was a wet one!

Set up was like no other set for a concert we’ve ever done. Thanks to the sandbanks, the water is about knee deep for a hundred yards out from shore. Which meant we just waded out to the floating barge stage with all our gear held above our heads! Luckily no one dropped anything! The weather was perfect and everyone that showed up was ready to rock. 

People heard about the show through word of mouth and once it was on Facebook things really took off. It was a lot of locals, lake residents. We estimated over 30 boats and almost 100 people attended the show that day. People of all ages came—families, kids, young couples. Everyone was dancing in the water, wearing their swimsuits, enjoying the music, singing along, enjoying the beautiful weather and the show. 

The Sudbury Regional Police even stopped by to ensure everyone was safe. I talked with a few of them afterwards and they said they were impressed everyone was behaving themselves and especially that we’d all respected our surroundings by cleaning up after the show. We’d expect nothing less from our friends and fans! Afterwards, we heard from so many people who were bummed to have missed the event—we decided to make it a yearly thing! 

It really was quite a show and so amazing to be able to perform so close to where I grew up. And we’re now looking forward to our second annual sandbanks show! 

Looking to get some more fun in before I hit the road again, just days later I was right back out on the water with some pals riding Sea-doos on Ramsey Lake.

That's right in downtown Sudbury with Science North in the background. Imagine what's available outside the city? Did I mention I'm from Sudbury? Damn right!

Thanks to Jake Thomas of Riley Lake Productions for the video and photos of the show and to Grant Turcotte for the PWC shots. 

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