That’s a wrap: Festival of Small Halls plays last note for fall

Wow, folks! What a festival! We’re still on top of the world with fuzzy festival feelings from three weeks of brilliantly talented musicians in hip rural halls accented by welcoming communities.

More than 5,000 attendees visited small halls across Eastern Ontario to enjoy 34 shows this year over the course of the Festival this September. It wouldn’t be possible without the dedication, vision and hard work of our hall hosting organizations and their volunteers.

To the communities who rallied around us, our amazing emcees, and the artists themselves for reveling in Small Halls and sharing your incredible talents with us – thank you. We’re all richer for having experienced musical afternoons and evening together, united by song under one roof for a few hours.

It was also a chance to shine a light on three dozen cherished rural venues and raise the rafters with music and togetherness in historic churches, former schoolhouses, community centres and town halls.  The halls themselves are main characters in this festival and we love the little unique attributes that each hall contributes, like the wooden ceiling at the Morton Community Hall; the old chalkboards at the Red Brick School in Elgin; the stunning stonework at the historic Spencerville Mill; the passageways, pews and pipe organ at the Merrickville United Church, the chandelier in Burritt’s Rapids; the vaulted umbrella ceilings at St. James Church in Maxville; the log chinking used to build the DACA Community Centre – the list goes on and on! These halls with history and heart have been gathering places for community for years – and we’re so happy to shine a light on them.

Our supporters are many – and we’re so happy to have welcomed sponsors Xplornet and BFL Canada on board this year! The Xplornet presence at six of our shows helped us stay connected in small places, and we’re beyond excited to partner with BFL Canada – the largest employee-owned and operated commercial insurance broker and consulting services firm in Canada. Lastly, our continued partnership with Beau’s All Natural Brewing saw the locally-brewed craft beer enjoyed on stage by artists across Eastern Ontario and also become the intermission audience beer of choice during shows.

Along the way this year, we talked a lot with audience members – in some locations our emcees asked for a show of hands and it turns out that 80 per cent of the crowd was from out of town! In other halls, the concert-goers were mostly locals. Some festival fans went to five shows this year – others were checking out the Small Halls scene for the first time.

Either way, we sincerely hope you made some memories along the way… we sure did!

Psst! Want to hang onto those Small Halls fuzzies a little longer? Take a peek here. We have quietly started selling tickets for our Christmas show series!  We’ll formally announce it soon, but you can be among the first to snag your tickets in the meantime. And yes, it includes an Ontario Small Halls first – a comedian!