Game of Fire and Ice: Larry on the Frozen Lake

#LarryBerrioRidesOntario

Larry Berrio and the Greater Sudbury community pull off another amazing show on Lake Wanapitei in the middle of winter.



     
 

I took a moment to look out at the crowd. I grabbed the mic. In front of me, more than 200 snowmobiles and even more people were spread out on frozen Lake Wanapitei, all of us gathered there in the 26-degrees-below-zero cold for a concert. My concert. Not for the first time I wondered how in the hell my team and I had pulled off such a crazy stunt. It had taken more than six hours to set up the custom stage, lug the generator across the ice, get our equipment plugged in, and do a sound check. Did I mention how cold it was? But as I looked out at the expectant crowd—everyone in bundled up in tuques and full snowmobile gear—I knew it was going to be worth it.

A tribute to powersports, in true Canadian style

The epic “Larry on the Lake” concert started out as a chance for us to say thank-you to our fans by doing something uniquely “Ontario.” I love powersports and I’d got to thinking about what it would be like to do a show in the middle of winter for all the passionate snowmobilers out there. The kind of people who love the cold and spending time in the great outdoors. And what better time to film the video for my upcoming single, “What a Ride”? A song all about—you guessed it—my love of everything powersports! But would people come out for a concert in the middle of a frozen lake?

We didn’t have to worry. The day of the concert, snowmobiles appeared from all directions, all heading toward our impromptu icy stage. People must have wondered how we stayed warm up there. We had a secret weapon: our custom stage had holes drilled into the floor and propane heaters running underneath kept us from freezing! Regardless of how prepared we were, I can tell you we were glad the sun was shining.

I remember looking back at the band. We each gave a nod. We were ready to rock. With one last tug of my cowboy hat (gotta keep stylish even when it’s chilly) and the sound of guitars and drums starting to blast out across the ice, I launched into our first number. The concert had begun!

Northern Ontario businesses come together in the name of music 

Putting together a show like the one we organized is a pretty complicated affair. We couldn’t have done it without all the business owners and community leaders that came together to make the concert on the lake a success. Set up and tear down took more than six hours, but a lot of people put in hours before and after too, all to make this happen.

Robert Brouillette from Sudbury's City Welding helped out with all the contacts for the staging, heat, and generators. He convinced companies to donate everything—all in the name of music! Keith Broomhead from Greater City Concrete Works came out with a team of six guys set up our stage, propane heat, and generator. It was them who cut the holes on the stage—thank you, guys! Echo Rental & Supply Ltd. donated the generator and staging for us. Guitar Clinic came out with a full sound system to make sure that we could make this concert and video a success. Rocky's helped out with delicious hot food for our volunteers. And trust me, hot food was very important out there on the ice that day!

This long list of businesses that helped us out just goes to show how amazing the communities in Northern Ontario are. Everyone is willing to pitch in, lend a hand, and help out—whether it’s a musician like me or just a neighbour whose driveway needs digging out. We’re a caring bunch of people—and we also know how to let loose and have a good time. Which is the other thing that made our concert so great.  

The “What a Ride” music video and single drop soon—stay tuned!

After many inquiries from fans, we’ve made plans to do another concert this winter so anyone that missed out can catch us again in 2018 (if you didn’t miss out, you’re welcome back, too, of course). Though, if my band has anything to say about it, I think we’ll also have to do a gig in the Bahamas at some point! I definitely owe them one. And get ready to check out my new single and music video for “What a Ride” dropping very, very soon!

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