Socializing is more popular than ever, and what better way to celebrate than through the appreciation of live music.
About 100 people attended Thursday night at the Festival of the Bay in Midland, an annual summer event since 2010 showcasing music, arts and culture.
John French, founder and artistic director of the Brookside Music Association, said he was delighted with the return of concerts in front of an audience.
“It’s great to be back,” said French, who delighted in chatting to the audience in attendance. “Even the performers last night said how exciting it was to be able to play; it’s been a year and a half since they last played and it’s also been a year and a half since our last concert.
Participants brought their own folding chairs to the lawn behind the Calvary Baptist Church at 598 King Street in Midland, and were instructed to follow the appropriate health protocols provided by the participants.
“The turnout has been very good,” French remarked. “We had about 100 in person, I would say, and we also broadcast it live on YouTube.”
Simultaneous hosting of live concerts through the popular video site is a new offering from the Festival of the Bay, but one that French is excited to explore.
“Although it was not the same experience,” French admitted, “we thought it would be a nice gesture for the community to offer the live broadcast in the future to nursing homes and retirement homes, to people who like to watch. ”
French was excited about the upcoming lineup for the 2021 concert series.
“When I designed this year’s series, I thought I would like to make a celebration of the different ethnic groups that predominate in our region,” French said. “So we have a combination of anglophone events, francophone events and aboriginal artists; the three main demographics of artists and the type of music we play.
Attendance is free for the 2021 season, with funding provided by grants from Tourism Simcoe County, as well as support from the Ontario Arts Council and the Department of Canadian Heritage, for which French was extremely grateful.
“This year in particular, the variety is so diverse,” French explained. “We have French-speaking fiddlers, we have traditional native percussionists and dancers. We have a mime who comes to pantomime at the Carnival of the Animals and at The Sorcerer’s Apprentice; it will be a great show for children in particular. And there is nothing intimidating about attending a concert or live event like this.
Information on the Festival on the Bay can be found on the Brookside Music Association website, along with performers and show times.