With the addition of live music, international food and the Celebrate Canada Mural Project, Artfest Kingston is offering much more than just an arts and crafts fair in City Park this Canada Day long weekend.
While the festival boasts a remarkable 140 artists and artisans from across Ontario and Quebec, it’s the events around the core of the festival that are creating a buzz this year. Amongst the music, food, pottery, stained glass, clothing, photography, metal work and paintings will be an extensive kids’ activity area and an International Food Fest.
“The art and craft show will always be the most important part for me and the main focus of the festival,” said Lory MacDonald, show producer of Artfest. “Supporting it with the programming we can adapt around it, like youth projects, music and installation art, will help enhance the people who come to the festival.”
Artfest is considered to be a continuation of sorts to Kingston’s Fanfayr, which ran for 30 years before organizer Joan McGrath chose to retire the event. MacDonald said she chose to make the move to City Park so the festival could grow. MacDonald produces three other Art Fest shows held in Toronto’s Distillery District, and said its been “incredible” doing Artfest in City Park.
“With so much space we can add in programming but also it gives the artists space to spread out so they set up these excellent displays.”
Donations of paint from TriArt will also allow forthe creation of an 80 foot installation piece through the course of the weekend, facilitated by mural artist Arthur II, called the Celebrate Canada Mural Project.
“Arthur II will set up the main scenes celebrating Canada, like Sir John A, Tall Ships, and The Railway and then everyone from the community is encouraged to add their meaning of Canada,” said MacDonald. “You don’t have to have experience or an artistic background, we just want people to contribute.”
Another unique feature to Artfest Kingston is their philosophy to support building partnerships within communities, arts and culture for all ages. The Art Stars program focuses on young artists who are embarking on their careers. The show will see a selection of artists from the 2013 Kingston Arts Council’s Juried Art Salon and the winner of the Nan Yeoman’s Award Ebonnie Hollenbeck.
“We did this last year and while it’s still in its fledgling stage, we’re able to offer these young artists free vending space and give them some great exposure,” said MacDonald. “The artist can gain valuable experience and feedback about their work, and further the learning process of selling their art work in a public venue.”
Those visiting Artfest will also have a soundtrack to their day as they stroll through the shady pathways of City Park. Another addition this year is a full schedule of live music performances in which local band The Gertrudes headline, playing in City Park on Monday, July 1.
Having just announced they are recording a new album for a fall release, The Gertrudes are “excited” to be focusing on new material and being able to debut it for hometown crowds this summer.
“When we play for a Kingston audience, it’s always different depending on the venue,” said Matt Rogalsky, who plays electric guitar and mandolin for The Gertrudes. “It’s always nice to play for people who know us and our songs and to play somewhere like ArtFest, we also get to play for a lot of people who may not have ever heard us before. It’s going to be a great show.”
Rogalsky is also responsible for recording and mixing most of The Gertrudes albums, including the upcoming release.
“We’re well into mixing the album now, and very excited to share this collection of new songs,” he said. “It includes a few new departures for us, including a string quartet arrangement for one song, with great players from the Kingston Symphony. Some songs have massive arrangements with lots of musicians, others are really stripped down and bare.”
Other acts taking the stage for musical performances include The Rob Carnige Band on Saturday, a few bands to be confirmed for Sunday and guitarist Enrique Lopez will be playing intimate sets through the course of the festival Saturday through Monday.
For more details visit www.artfestkingston.com.