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
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
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
"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
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