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The Boggy Creek ~ Call of the Wild Festival Years


by Lewis Kaselitz
President ~ Board of Directors

The Call of the wild started as a dream in 1973 when Lewis, Linda, Cindy and Adam Kaselitz, a Signal Mountain, Tennessee area-based family moved to Canada.

Many obstacles and hardships lay in the way from the start. The area, being a considerable distance from any major centre, made most building projects a real challenge. Financing for such projects was equally difficult in that just as much time had to be spent off the site as on it by the family members, doing whatever jobs that might be available at the time.

The problems encountered by leaving basic civilization for the wilderness way of life were solved by utilizing whatever natural resources that might be available in the area. Rocks, sand, logs and lumber cut form community sawmills proved to be the backbone for most of the construction. The log house or lodge, built somewhat in the shape of a diamond, has been basically constructed from these materials and adds peacefully to the festival grounds.

Call of the Wild Festival has been engineered with a "back to nature" theme: in order to draw closer attention to the need for good conservation practices, which should be everyone's concern, and to enhance our dwindling countrysides everywhere. The inner peace and solitude along with an abundance of wildlife, when visiting any one of the many wilderness lakes and natural campsites, is priceless when compared with the anxieties and pressures of everyday life. Call of the Wild Mountain Music Festival is nestled down in just such a place, close to good fishing lakes and provincial campgrounds. Just a few hours drive further north and the roads and highways end. A canoe or float plane can have you fishing for walleye, northern pike and trout in waters hardly or maybe never fished in.

The Music Festival is close to a creek called Boggy Creek; thus the name of the community, with one small grocery store and post office.

We haven't seen the Sasquatch lately, but you may! Eye witness sightings in the surrounding mountains by travellers recently, elaborated on seeing an eight to ten foot tall creature, standing and walking upright like a man and covered with a shaggy, brownish-black covering of hair; much like that of a grizzly. Imagine meeting up with this creature standing inside the average size house, for some unknown reason; it would have to stand in a stooped position in order to move about, and really get down in order to pass through a doorway.

Bluegrass or Mountain Music Festivals as they are sometimes called throughout North America, have two basic characteristics: Country living and the Country way of life. The moods and cultural aspects of country folk are widely displayed in the music and styles of the various artists who will be performing at this year's festival and the festivals to follow each summer.  So we hope to see you there in front of the big stage or at one of the many jams going on day and night in the rustic campgrounds. Just remember to keep your dial turned to any one of Manitoba's Country Music Stations while travelling, for Festival information and remember there's no shortage of gas in Canada.

Call of the Wild has also been incorporated with a Board of Directors to promote the bluegrass and country music entertainers on a National basis in Canada. The performers are from coast to coast in Canada and the United States and have been carefully selected for the three-day outdoor concert of almost continual music.

This festival has been researched and arranged for yours and the whole family's enjoyment.

Thanks for your support in helping make the dream of the Call of the Wild Festival come true.

by Peter Harrington

Lewis Kaselitz
Linda KaselitzCindy Kaselitz

Not many people today would be prepared to come from another country, move into the wilds of Manitoba, homestead 160 acres of raw land and stay at it until something was made of it.

But Lewis and Linda Kaselitz, formerly of Chattanooga, Tennessee and now of Boggy Creek, Manitoba did . . . and they were successful. So successful that recently they produced the biggest Mountain Music Festival the area has ever seen when upwards to 8,000 people attended the "Call of the Wild" Festival.

Lewis and Linda came to Canada with $700 in their pockets and a clear title to the land. During the first three and a half years, they lived in an old cabin on the property and together with their children, Cindy and Adam, started to cut trees skin logs and construct their house.

At one point it was called a "log castle" by one newsman but Linda says, "it's our home and certainly no castle . . . it's just a plain house carved out of the woods with tender loving care."

Over the past five years, Lewis worked as the area's only garbage man and Linda worked in a restaurant to make ends meet.

"We were successful," said Lewis in his husky southern drawl.

Lewis is an entertainer in his own right and belts out a nifty song. He proved this during the Music Festival when his vocals brought cheers from the thousands attending.

"I am a past night club owner, managed rockabilly groups, was a machinist for 10 years. But now it's mountain music, my home, which still needs a lot of work, and the continued upgrading of the property.

Lewis has cleared several camping areas, built a corral for some horses he intends to bring next year and started construction on a full scale runway for aircraft.

"For the next little while the house will be the priority," he said, "since winter is coming and it gets darned cold up here."

"I am also going to concentrate on the roads in the area and try to get them upgraded. If the government will do that much then I'll do the rest," he said.

This year he promises better water conditions with two new wells and even a bigger music festival.

Linda Kaselitz is no slacker. During the music festival she kept things humming by feeding the 20 groups that entertained and cooked thousands of pancakes, hamburgers and other food for the thousands that came to the festival.

The festival itself could be considered a success. But for this year Lewis has some big plans. He is looking for 20,000 to attend the next "Call of the Wild" and is counting on such performers as Dick Damron, The Dixie Flyers, The Rocky Mountain Bluegrass Boys, Duck Donald, The Needham Twins, Dale Russell, Sheila Dawn, Gene Bretecher and a host of others. In addition, Lewis is looking to the United States for some entertainment, but his major interest is promoting some good Canadian talent.

"I have the backing of the Town of Roblin, Chamber of Commerce and local business. I am also looking to my neighbours in the Yorkton, Saskatchewan area to come out and support these programs too."

In conjunction with the festival this year there will be a "Call of the Wild" magazine produced which will feature human interest stories on the performers and other information about the festival. This will be distributed nationwide.

Lewis was quick to praise the help he has received over the past year from Wayne Fehr, Sunshine recording artist out of Winnipeg and the groups that came in early to complete the giant task to get the festival site ready.

"Wayne was at my side constantly and doing just a great job at helping to get the place ready for the 1979 festival," he said. "During the week prior to the festival's opening, entertainers like the Dixie Flyers, Dick Damron and others have dug in and helped complete the many tasks that had to be done . . .  and this just shows the kind of people mountain music people are," said Lewis.

The first festival is now history and Lewis is getting ready for the second festival. "It takes a lot of planning and things have to be done in advance," he said, "and journalist and publicity agent Peter Harrington is busy helping me with this year's festival which is proving to be a big job."

So, as Lewis and Linda trek around their 160 acres of raw wilderness. . .  country and bluegrass music can chalk up another successful step in the quest of rising to a place of prominence in today's Canadian music scene.

1. Call of the Wild Introduction
2. Festival Memories ~ Behind the Scenes
3. Early Beginnings
4. Don Ross Scrapbook
5. Performer Profiles I
6. Performer Profiles II
7. Photo Gallery

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Copyright 2001 Bill Hillman