I’m writing from the wonder of wonders, the jewel of south-western Ontario, London’s Oh!Fest. Only in its second year, this little community festival is a mountain peak of camaraderie, deft organization, and talent.
The Open House Arts Collective (the sweethearts who are running the show) have gathered an impressive array of bands, from as far away as Halifax, and as near as their own campfire-filled backyard. Eager to showcase all walks of music from home and away, the Oh folks have scheduled three days of shows in the Forest City’s finest venues. In museums, art galleries, theatres, and amid the pillars of Call The Office, CanRockers like The Acorn, The Wooden Sky, $100, Cousins, The D’Urbervilles, and Evening Hymns have been invited to stand proudly with hometown heroes, Olenka and the Autumn Lovers, A Horse And His Boy, Handsome Dan and his Gallimaufry, Sam Allen, and youngins Say Domino and The Whipping Wind.
The whole picture is one of brimming excitement and steadfast adoration of all things homegrown. The Open House crew and their family of friends and volunteers are building something very special here in London and they’re not shy about showing their brightest feathers.
Oh!Fest is not alone in the good vibes fight this weekend, as similar displays of creative expression and social artistry have appeared both west and east of London. Sarnia’s Empty Spaces, and Guelph’s Kazoo! arts org have both set stellar festivals at the peak of the exciting spring concert season. The second edition of Empty Fest, and Kazoo!Fest (now in it’s third powerful year of helping heaps of fun happen in Guelph), are big bookmarks in ongoing concert series meant to enliven and celebrate the communities from which they have sprung. The Kazoo! group in particular have been holding and building the show promotion fort in their hometown for longer than anyone. Like the Open House Arts Collective and Empty Spaces team, they are themselves musicians and art makers, and seem to make very little distinction between organizing shows for themselves, and helping new friends from afar play excellent shows whenever and however they can.
This caring thought and action has led to thriving music scenes in the Southern Ontario community, and insured that wonderful events occur year-round; in smaller doses of course, but no less vibrant than those of this weekend. It’s forever a great time to get to know your neighbours, and all their friends’ friends. To know them is to love them, and love’s the best.
All this fellowship and fun has left me very inspired and content in the knowledge that my neighbourhood is flourishing. Spring is for the greening of the world and for the singing of the birds. It’s a time to clean your home and stretch your legs, and to enjoy all the good things in that home stretch. It’s also a time for adventure!
Here at the home of ohbijou, we are thrilled to tell everyone about a great adventure indeed! We are going to Japan and Taiwan!
We have been asked by the wonderful folks at the Arabaki Rock Fest to join them in Sendai at the start of May! This is a very exciting festival and from what we’ve heard from our friends in Timber Timbre, an amazing sight to see / sound to hear. In addition to Sendai, we’ve decided to make the most of our time on the Japanese archipelago by playing the wonderful Tokyo, and even hopping over the sea for a show in Taipei! It’s all very thrilling and we’re still pinching ourselves daily! I never thought I would get to spend my birthday in Taiwan!!
In full, here are the deets of our East Asian tour!
May 1st – Sendai, Japan => Arabaki Rock Fest
May 4th – Tokyo, Japan => O-Nest
May 5th – Tokyo, Japan => Shinkiba Studio Coast
May 7th – Taipei, Taiwan => The Wall
Also, we’re doubly excited to have been afforded the chance to play these awesome festivals in Western Canada this Summer! Hello friends, hello Frodo! More dates TBA!!
July 23-25th – Calgary, AB – Calgary Folk Fest
August 1st – Gimli, MB => Islendingadagruinn
August 6-8th – Regina, SK => Regina Folk Fest
August 13th – 15th – Salmon Arm, BC => Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Fest
Well that’s about the whole scoop for now. I hope you’re having a great weekend. We’re spending the rest of ours nestled in with friends and family, and getting ready for our trip! If you are in or near Guelph Ontario tomorrow, our good friend Lisa Bozikovic will be performing as part of the aforementioned Kazoo!Fest, and half of our band will be there to back her up! (9:30PM at the E-Bar – 41 Quebec St.).
Alright folks, our next update will be from the near shores of Japan!
Until then, be true and be strong.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *