Festival of Small Halls ends on a high note


Thank you for the memories, folks!

The Ontario Festival of Small Halls played its last note for 2017 this weekend, with brilliant performances by Birds of Chicago, Ashley MacIsaac, Ian Sherwood, The Abrams, Les Poules à Colin with Moonfruits, Change of Step, Mia Kelly, Jessica Wedden, Jillian Kerr, Dean Batstone, Paddy Kelly and Midnight Vesta.

Those shows capped of three incredible weekends of music and memories. We started off the Festival schedule with an ambitious 32 shows this year and the halls and artists certainly delivered – and so did the audiences!

From singing along to standing ovations, the shows were backdropped by halls with history and heart – decked out in fall décor and with tables laden with delicious food.

Whether it was hearing Great Lake Swimmers under the twinkling star lights at Chaffey’s Lock Community Hall; roaring with laughter at the sassy wit of Rosie and the Riveters in the Red Brick School in Elgin; watching generations of The Abrams join on stage for the first time among the barn boards at Stonefield’s in Beckwith; feeling your heart swell as Fred Penner invited a child on stage to help sing a song in Winchester, or seeing Ashley MacIsaac stomp and shred the fiddle on the wood-shingled stage at the DACA Centre – we witnessed music that left us with goosebumps.

The festival fostered feelings of kinship and warm emotion, knowing that we all shared something special. It’s exactly what the small halls on the schedule were designed to do – gather people together to celebrate and strengthen the bond of community.

The artists felt it, too. We’re hearing positive feedback from artists like Jenn Grant, The Outside Track Birds of Chicago and Old Man Luedecke on their Small Halls experience and how welcome they felt at each venue. Festival goers are also getting in touch to let us know how much they enjoyed their concert experience. We welcomed people from Ottawa, Belleville, Montreal, Bancroft, Toronto and of course from the fantastic local communities across Eastern Ontario.

The words “thank you” do not even begin to convey the gratitude we have for the dedicated volunteers at each small hall who worked hard to make it all possible. You’re such an integral part of the Festival’s success and we hope that the hosting experience will resonate in your communities.

Keep an eye on our website and social feeds, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube over the next few weeks, as we continue posting photos of memorable moments. You might see your own small hall showcased in our wrap-up video which will be released within the next week.

We’re looking forward to Ontario Festival of Small Halls 2018 already!