Wordfest is one of Elora’s hidden gems. Twice a year, local and visiting guest writers share their works of prose and poetry in a school room turned art gallery, hosted by Donna McCaw. It is a treat for the imagination to sit back and listen to the authors paint images with words.
As if by magic, the rain stayed away for two days of music and merriment at Evergreen Ranch. Musicians from the surrounding communities (Guelph, Milton, Elora, Rockwood, Elmira) provided over 14 hours of entertainment in idyllic country surroundings. There was delicious food to be had and lots of friendly people to relax with. The cherry on top was the campfire that kept the music going into the night. If you didn’t make it to Ark Fest, watch for Ark Coffee House events throughout the year (find them on FB). Thanks to the Loney family and all the volunteers who made it happen.
Here are glimpses of Ark Fest 2013:
[Ark Fest, June 29-30th 2013, Evergreen Ranch; $40 for a weekend pass]
Looking for some music to chase away the midwinter chill? Want to let a hibernating song out to see its shadow? Southern Ontario has a lot to offer – here is just a sampling (including two uke events):
Brantford Open Stage – Friday, February 1st @ 8 pm – 19 Holiday Drive, Brantford; Admission $4 (performers free)
Hamilton Folk Club – Tuesday, February 12 @ 8 pm – The Pheasant Plucker, 20 Augusta Street, Hamilton; Admission $4 – This will also mark the club’s 31st birthday!
Uke Club #2, Saturday, February 23 @ 1:15 pm – Long & McQuade in Guelph, 30 Arrow Road; Admission $6
*NEW* Open Mic at the Magnolia Café, hosted by Ian Reid – Tuesday, February 12 @7-9 pm; Admission $2 for non-performers (“pay or play”) – 88 Yarmouth Street, Guelph
Corktown Uke Jam – While the Dominion on Queen boasts a weekly uke jam, Wednesday, February 13 @8-11 pm is a special N’Awlins Theme Nite, Kevin Fox as host; Admission $5 – 500 Queen Street East, Toronto
Random Acts of Music at Schinbein’s Studio in Mitchell – Country/folk open mic & jam on Saturdays (1-4:30 pm) and Blues open mic & jam on Thursdays (7-10 pm) – 117 St. Andrew Street, Mitchell
Tuesday night acoustic jam (7-11 pm) in Elora is alive and well at the Café Creperie (no cover) – 40 Mill Street West, Elora
When we first invited young musicians to play at a benefit for a mission trip to Honduras I had pictured a small coffee house style evening with local youth providing entertainment. The immediate and enthusiastic response – along with requests from several bands to play – we realized we would need more time and a larger venue. This event was not the kind of open stage where you sign up when you arrive. We put a call out for performers ahead of time and gave everyone who wanted to play a spot in the line-up.
The result? Seven hours of youth talent at the Elora Centre for the Arts including full bands and solo acts, original compositions along with cover tunes. The response made me realize what an appetite there is to play music in this community. The musicians gave their time and made the event a success – and yet they kept thanking us for the opportunity to play!
While some of them have created opportunities for themselves to play (The Boo Radley Project , Don’t Doubt Courage , many are looking for places to play and collaborate and grow as performers. I heard performers I expect to hear about again (Emma Phillips, Kayla McTaggart) and many who have obviously dedicated themselves to their music.
Thanks to the following stellar line-up for making the event so memorable:
Calhoun Breit (aka Kid Wonka)
Chloe Smith & Amy Soucie
Don’t Doubt Courage
The Boo Radley Project
Diamonds to Dust
[Music for Honduras, April 28, 2012, Elora Centre for the Arts – photos: Timothy Grier]
After my first experience of Wordfest at the Elora Centre for the Arts I couldn’t wait for it to come around again. Combining poetry, story-telling and performance art, this event, hosted by Donna McCaw, celebrates the spoken word. Personal and poignant to rib tickling cleverness, each performer brought their own voice, their own style to the room.
Like any open mic, one of the fun aspects of Wordfest is that you don’t know whom you’ll be listening to until you are seated in the the old classroom waiting for the words – an adventure I highly recommend. With poetry and other writing for sale, you can take some of the evening home with you to revisit at your leisure.
[Wordfest, Elora Centre for the Arts, 75 Melville Street, Elora, twice/year, $6 cover, doors open @ 7 pm]