Familiar faces will join up-and-comers opening for big name musicians on rural stages during the Ontario Festival of Small Halls this fall.
After announcing the 2017 fall headliners earlier this summer, the community opening acts are now finalized for almost all the shows, happening Sept. 14 to Oct. 1 in more than 30 cherished small halls across Eastern Ontario and the Ottawa Valley.
From a father-daughter duo, to a singer-songwriter who has charted in the United States, this year’s opening acts are set to bring home the community vibe at the Festival performances.
Festival General Manager, Kelly Symes, said many of the small town venues on the schedule have played a role in launching local musicians over the years, giving them a chance to be heard while playing for community events at suppers, dances and celebrations.
“So much wonderful talent can be found locally, in the towns and rural areas the Festival is in this year,” Symes said. “The local music scene is usually kick-started at community halls themselves; we’re thrilled to showcase that authenticity during the festival.”
To give an idea of the calibre of some of the openers, Sacha, who will be performing with The Abrams at Stonefields in Beckwith on Sept. 14 is already earning accolades in the country music industry. She kicked off the new year as an opener for Brett Kissel’s Ice Snow 30 Below Tour and was named 2016’s
Next Country Music Star while being invited to play the Havelock Jamboree. Sacha was also chosen by the Country Music Association of Ontario to perform on the Artist Spotlight stage during the Lucknow Music in the Fields festival.
Other confirmed local openers include:
Thursday, September 14
Stonefields, Beckwith – The Abrams with Sacha
Chaffey’s Lock Community Hall – Great Lake Swimmers with Seamus Cowan
Friday. September 15
Almonte Old Town Hall – Great Lake Swimmers with Claire Hunter Chaffey’s Lock Community Hall – Jenn Grant with Taylor Angus & Logan Brown Winchester Old Town Hall – Fred Penner with Teagan McLaren
Saturday, September 16
Joshua Bates Centre, Athens – Rose Cousins with Julia Finnegan
Dunvegan Recreation Centre – Jenn Grant with Jasmine Bleile
Sunday, September 17
Morton Community Hall – Fred Penner with Barbershop Therapy
Balderson United Church – Jenn Grant with Christine Graves
Tamworth Legion – Great Lake Swimmers with Solomon Woodland
Thursday, September 21
Spencerville Mill – The Outside Track with Moore & McGregor
St. Andrew’s United Church, Toledo – Dave Gunning with Chris Murphy
Friday, September 22
Delta Old Town Hall – The Outside Track with Change of Step
Union Hall, Mississippi Mills – Dave Gunning with Brad Scott
Althorpe Bolingbroke Community Hall – Sultans of String with Lost for Words
Saturday, September 23
Merrickville United Church – Leif Vollebekk with Off the Grid
Lyndhurst Legion (Royal Canadian Legion Branch 504) – Old Man Luedecke with Anna Sudac and Jesse MacMillan
St. Andrew’s United Church, Pakenham – Rosie & the Riveters with Vicki Brittle
Sunday, September 24
Tatlock Community Hall – Old Man Luedecke with Bill Connelly
The Red Brick School, Elgin – Rosie & the Riveters with Alex and Sean Price
Maberly Community Hall – The Outside Track with Change of Step and the Blue Skies Community Fiddle Orchestra
Thursday, September 28
St. James Catholic Church, Maxville – Ashley MacIsaac with Change of Step and Paddy Kelly
Portland Community Hall – Birds of Chicago
Batstone’s Northern Ramble – Ian Sherwood with Dean Batstone
Friday, September 29
McDonald’s Corners Agricultural Hall – The Abrams with Ali McCormick
Seeley’s Bay Community Hall – Ashley MacIsaac
Saturday, September 30
Westmeath Recreation Centre – The Abrams with Midnight Vesta
DACA Centre, Dacre – Ashley MacIsaac with Change of Step
La Fraternité, Alexandria – Les Poules à Colin with Moonfruits
Sunday, October 1
Burritt’s Rapids Community Hall – Birds of Chicago with Mia Kelly
St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Kilmaurs – Ian Sherwood with Jillian Kerr
Watch for more information in the coming weeks regarding community events that will be associated with each show. From markets to dinners, the host halls are throwing open their doors to make the 2017 performances of the Festival of Small Halls even more memorable.
Find out more about the Festival’s local openers and headliners at www.ontariosmallhalls.com and be sure to connect with the festival on social media as the summer progresses for more updates. Ticketing info can also be found online or by calling 613.402.1425.