At its core, the Ontario Festival of Small Halls is about celebrating community. The Festival of Small Halls is set to get hands clapping and toes tapping this month as it welcomes an inspiring combination of big names in music and local opening acts to treasured small halls across eastern Ontario from Sept. 14 to Oct. 2.
The festival expanded to include 24 rural locales this year, paying tribute to cherished small town spaces with history and heart. National and international musicians including Breabach, Basia Bulat, Jim Bryson, Elliott BROOD, Hat Fitz and Cara, Tomato Tomato, April Verch, Darlingside, Harrow Fair and more are ready to share small stages with opening acts which are local to each community. This month, the Festival of Small Halls is announcing community events surrounding several of the small halls shows.
Along with seeing musicians like Breabach with Change of Step and Anna Ludlow at Stonefields in Beckwith; Harrow Fair with Terry Tufts at Union Hall in Mississippi Mills; Jim Bryson with Melwood Cutlery at McDonald’s Corner Agricultural Hall; Hat Fitz and Cara with Brock Zeman in Perth; Sheesham and Lotus & ‘Son at the Ivy on William in Smiths Falls; Sherman Downey & Matthew Byrne with Adam Puddington at St. Andrew’s United in Pakenham or the Devin Cuddy Band with Keegan Carr at the ABC Hall in Bolingbroke, the Festival of Small Halls is so pleased to announce community events surrounding several of the small halls shows.
The festival encourages local hall boards, volunteers and organizations to team up and expand on the concert in an effort to further build community. From markets and dinners to community walks and a fine art and craft exhibition, the host halls are throwing open their doors to make the 2016 performances of the Festival of Small Halls even more memorable.
“Building community is such an important component for the Festival of Small Halls,” said Kelly Symes, manager of the Ontario Festival of Small Halls. “The festival takes place in cherished local halls that residents and visitors hold near to their hearts — it’s only fitting that the exciting festival performances are augmented with traditional community events to further showcase these special spaces.”
Delta, McDonald’s Corners, Lyndhurst, Spencerville, Chaffey’s Lock, Beckwith, Winchester and Morton all have events in the works. Reservations are required for most of the community events, so be sure to plan ahead.
Community dinners are planned in Chaffey’s Lock at The Opinicon; Beckwith at Stonefields Heritage Farm with a family barbecue preceding the show; Delta at the Old Town Hall with a buffet dinner before the concert; Lyndhurst at St. Luke’s Anglican Church Hall before the show at the Legion; Winchester at St. Paul Presbyterian Church with a turkey dinner before the show, and at the McDonald’s Corners Agricultural Hall with a scrumptious menu planned preceding its show!
Furthermore, The Spencerville Mill is partnering with Zolas Restaurant for tapas before the show, while the matinee concert at the Morton Community Hall is accented by a community event at Wendy’s Country Market just down the road.
Burritt’s Rapids is planning a whole day of fun to close out the Festival of Small Halls, including outdoor fun for the family, an architectural walk with the Village Doyennes, a Ceilidh after the show, food vendors, door prizes and even a fine art and craft exhibition and sale surrounding the matinee performance on Oct. 2.
When community comes together – you know the company is going to be just as good as the food and fun atmosphere!
Aside from community events, we also have a few surprise additions to the musical line up. The Festival of Small Halls recently announced that The Abrams will be performing with Darlingside and Miss Emily at the Seeley’s Bay Community Hall on Sept. 16 at 7:30 p.m. As fourth-generation musicians, The Abrams bring a brilliant vision to their music, which melds their musical roots with an attitude more in tune with the present.
More inspiration is coming from recently-confirmed Change of Step who will be performing three shows with Breabach at the Maberly Community Hall, in Maxville at St. James Catholic Church and at Stonefields in Beckwith. This dynamic dance company performs original choreography that is rooted in Scottish tradition, yet shaped by modern influences.
See more information about our community events and schedule at www.thefestivalofsmallhalls.com or follow on social media.
Photos Submitted, (main image): Elliott Brood will perform at the Spencerville Mill on Sept. 22; the Nick Smith Centre Hall in Arnprior on Sept. 23 and at the Joshua Bates Centre in Athens on Sept. 24.