Sawdust City Music Festival Muskoka Returns to Gravenhurst

By Bryan Dearsley

Miranda Mulholland is one very, very busy person. The Ontario-raised musician (she hails from Guelph) is not only an accomplished actor – she’s a regular on stage in Toronto and has performed on Broadway in the United States – but she also sings and plays the violin professionally.

Add to this list cabaret artist, entrepreneur, record label owner, and band member, and you might be forgiven for wondering how she still manages to squeeze in time to run the summer music event she founded, the Sawdust City Music Festival in Gravenhurst.

Now in its third year and one of the top things to do in Muskoka, Mulholland is keen to remind us of the roots of her new endeavour.

Sawdust City is Gravenhurst’s nickname, which actually came from the lumber mill my great-great-grandfather, Charles Mickle, owned,” she says.

Indeed, Mulholland’s great-great-grandfather believed so much in the arts that he was responsible for the commissioning of the iconic Gravenhurst Opera House.

Adds Mulholland: “I feel very similar. The more involved I am with music and the community, the closer I feel to him.”

Sawdust City Music Festival Third Year

Little wonder, then, that Mulholland and her team are excited about year two of the much anticipated Sawdust City Music Festival. The three day event’s 2019 line-up runs from August 2nd to 5th and features award-winning acts including Bill & Joel PlaskettMaria Doyle Kennedy, The SadiesAnnie Sumi, and Harrow Fair, to name just a few. (Editor’s Note: Check for a fun feature article about the artists’ recollections of Muskoka.)

Other festival highlights include two exciting evenings of music at the Opera House. On Friday, the venue will see Maria Doyle Kennedy and Noah Reid take to the stage, with VIP passholders being treated to a fun photo opportunity with the Irish actress and singer, who has starred in such hit shows and movies as The Commitments, Outlander, and Downton Abbey.

Then, on Saturday, the Opera House will rock to the beat of Bill & Joel Plaskett and Harrow Fair, along with a pre-event VIP / weekend package reception featuring sampling from Sawdust City Brewing Co, Jackson Triggs, Georgian Bay, and The Balvenie Whisky.

Also worth checking out are the popular Songwriters’ Circle and Music on the Barge components, as well as programming including a fun-filled Sunday Kids Zone and vendors in Gull Lake Rotary Park. And on Sunday, VIP ticket holders will be treated to a special ‘Sunday Afternoon Mystery Picnic and Concert’, which promises to include a number of ‘secret’ special musical guests.

Adding to the event’s past success was the fact it attracted Canadian music legend Jim Cuddy, who played a superb set at the Opera House with the Jim Cuddy Family Band in 2017.

“Sawdust City Music Festival was one of the highlights of my summer,” says Cuddy. “The festival was intimate, musical, and a great gathering. I loved playing it, and I hope I get the chance to do it again.”

Amen to that!

For tickets and further details, including special weekend and VIP packages, visit the Sawdust City Music Festival Muskoka website at


Bryan Dearsley is Editor-in-chief of Luxury Globe, an online publishing company focussing on luxury experience, lifestyles, and travel.