Free summer festival to include Lunch at Allen’s, Shuffle Demons, Natalie MacMaster, Canadian Brass, Susan Aglukark
More than 35,000 expected
Lunch at Allen’s, Canadian Brass, Susan Aglukark, The Good Brothers, Shuffle Demons, and a Celtic Kitchen Party will be among the performers featured at the second annual Artsfest Waterdown in August.
Geoff Kulawick, owner of the Waterdown-based True North Records label and chair of the festival, said the inaugural festival drew more than 20,000 people last summer.
This year, Kulawick, says he expects the festival to attract as many as 35,000 people.
“Everybody that was here last year will be getting the word out and we have a slightly bigger budget, thanks to the Ontario and federal governments, to advertise and put some bigger names on the stage,” Kulawick said.
The free festival will take place Saturday, Aug. 19, and Sunday, Aug. 20, focused on two stages in historic downtown Waterdown. The festival will also feature a curated crafts marketplace, and a dedicated family zone with dance and theatre, storytelling, and interactive art activities for children and youth.
Other musical performers scheduled to play the festival include singer-songwriter Susan Aglukark, Newfoundland folk trio The Once and the Mozart Effect Chamber Ensemble, led by Juno-nominated conductor Charles Cozens.
Kulawick said the Celtic Kitchen Party — starring Canadian fiddle sensations Natalie MacMaster Donnell Leahy — will likely be the headline act on the Saturday, while the Sunday night closer is still to be determined.
“We will be announcing even more performers, and some very special guests closer to the event,” Kulawick said.
Lunch at Allen’s, signed to the True North label like many of the mainstage performers, is a collaboration between award-winning Canadian songwriters Murray McLauchlan, Marc Jordan, Cindy Church and Ian Thomas. The quartet, known for its storytelling as well as its songs, has a new record “If It Feels Right,” scheduled for release June 16.
“We’re presenting more diverse, more adult-targeted and familyoriented music,” Kulawick said. “It’s not a hipster festival. It’s appealing to more sophisticated and mature people and we think that it has the potential to turn into a real tourist attraction. Our survey last year had people coming up from New York state and downtown Toronto as well as Burlington and Mississauga.”
Kulawick said much of the festival’s $150,000 budget comes from federal and provincial grants, including $25,000 from the Ontario Music Fund.
Organizers are also hoping to get a $3,000 grant from the City of Hamilton, which Kulawick estimated at less than two per cent of the total budget. As well, the festival receives sponsorship from the private sector including the Waterdown BIA and the True North Gallery.
“We’re looking for sponsors to fill the gap left by the City of Hamilton,” Kulawick said.
For more information on the Waterdown festival, visit the website artsfest.ca.
Lunch at Allens: Murray McLauchlan, Ian Thomas, Cindy Church and Marc Jordan are on the bill for Artsfest Waterdown.
Clockwise from above left: The Canadian Brass, Susan Aglukark, Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy, The Good Brothers and The Shuffle Demons.