HomeGrown Live Music Festival returns after two-year hiatus – Kingston News

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Kingston’s HomeGrown Live Music Festival is back, after a two-year absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The festival is ready to welcome back Kingston artists and audiences for its annual non-profit charity event.

This year, there are four venues in Kingston and Wolfe Island hosting live concerts on Saturday, May 7. Included are Blu Martini, The Mansion, Hotel on Wolfe Island and Overtime Sports Bar. This year, Homegrown recruited 23 local artists to perform.

Chris Morris, the festival coordinator, says he’s aware the pandemic is far from over, so they’ve adjusted their venues to be wary of COVID-19.

“HomeGrown typically attracts around 2,000 fans, musicians and volunteers, and the idea of ​​all these people wandering around and filling small rooms and jumping from place to place, we just didn’t think it was the right thing to do,” says Morris.

The festival serves as a fundraiser for the Joe Chithalen Memorial Musical Instrument Lending Library (Joe’s MILL), and since 2008 over $110,000 has been raised.

Artists playing at the festival have expressed their support for Joe’s Mill, with some having used instruments from the library themselves. Hinterwood bassist Josiah Ascough says they “are pretty strong believers that people, especially kids, have access to instruments.”

Hinterwood drummer Jonah Baetz says playing in his hometown is awesome. “We grew up playing in Kingston. That’s where we learned to play in a band,” explains Baetz.

As the festival brings the community together, so does the artists who perform at the event. Ricky Brant, also known as KaKaow, has performed at HomeGrown several times and is looking forward to his set at Blu Martini this year, as well as seeing other local artists perform.

“The local community is very strong,” says Kakaow, referring to Kingston’s musical artists. “There’s a force that unites us and the music is really powerful…I love promoting bands…it’s one of, if not the biggest opportunity in the whole city of the whole year, to be able to tap into the artists in Kingston as well as give to Joe’s MILL,” says Kakaow.

Morris expects a good turnout at this year’s festival and says the bands are excited to play gigs again. “Even though we have a very compressed show, comparatively we have a great show, and the reception we’ve seen so far is very positive.”

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