Canadian

Festival Of Friends

Last weekend was the Festival Of Friends, a FREE festival that has been happening annually since 1976 in Hamilton Ontario. My decision to go was last minute as I wasn’t sure if I’d have the weekend off work and the drive to Hamilton, but I was approved and received my Media Accreditation the day of the festival and with nothing to do the day of, I said Sure, off to Hamilton!
It was my first time every going to this festival and I have to say… for a FREE festival it is MASSIVE.. heck.. it was massive regardless of having to pay or not. To have a stage set up that big, with that kind of lighting, full out carnival games and rides.. all the vendors and food trucks for FREE… just insane! Not only was all that great but a lot of great bands through out the day as well.

Later in the night I remember looking back from the stage and seeing people slowly start to set up chairs and blankets casually watching the bands but then around 7pm, I looked back again and there was a massive crowd. Looking back once more as the stage crew was setting up for The Spoons … my jaw dropped.. the amount of people that had gathered was one of the biggest crowds I’ve seen.. it was a sea of people as far as I could see… and if that wasn’t packed enough.. there were even more people once Loverboy hit the stage.. it took me 15 mins to travel through the sea of people to get to the other side of the park to get back to my car.

My focus of shooting was on the 4 bands leading up to Loverboy:

GOODNIGHT, SUNRISE

This band was incredible.. so much energy on stage! I mean.. there was a Keytar!! 2019 and there was a Keytar!! I was blown away. Their sound has this hint of 80’s but also a nice new, fresh upbeat alternative rock vibe that I fell in love with.

GOODNIGHT, SUNRISE

All the way from Los Angeles California, this retro power pop band came out in full force to put on a great set! Fire Tiger has really nailed that 80’s sound in today’s day and age and it’s fantastic. Their hit song ‘Energy’ is so catchy and full sounding.. reminds me of being a kid in the 80’s sitting down watching the Goonies after our riding around on my skateboard after a full morning of playing Nintendo.. it’s so good!

FIRE TIGER

After photographing The Spoons last year in my home town of Woodstock Ontario at Cowapolooza, I was pretty pumped to get to photograph them again this year. This band is so tight on stage and sound amazing every time. Throwing in all the old hits then mixing it up with some new tunes, it was the perfect old and new blend and it was well received by the crowd.

THE SPOONS

Who doesn’t know this Canadian staple? come on … we all know them because we are all just ‘Working for the weekend’ … we’re ‘Notorious’ for it. Once they hit the stage the crowd was “Lovin’ Every minute’ of it. After all these years, the guys still sound amazing.. couldn’t believe how good it was and enjoyed every single song.

LOVERBOY

BACONFEST: Concert Series

Baconfest!! have you heard of it? In a small town named Lucan Ontario there is a fest with such a name.. not only is it a name but there is bacon! bacon everything. Now.. I don’t want misguide you anymore than I already have with the title of this blog post .. buuuuut by the time I rolled into Lucan for Baconfest, vendors had mostly packed up and the town was starting to open the street back up, so while I’d love to give you details on all the bacon goodies.. I sadly cannot other than I had a hotdog with back bacon on it and it was delicious.
A) I wanted to make you aware of the small town Lucan Ontario and B) I wanted you to know that they have an event called Baconfest that is all about bacon because bacon is delicious! Oh and I also need to mention this event is also about bikes.. Motorbikes.. yes.. this is a biker event but it’s also for families and teenagers and kids and anyone who enjoys bacon. Main street of Lucan gets shut down, vendors line the streets and so do the bikers with their bikes and let me tell you, there are a TON of people.. I read on their website they now get like 25,000 people or something like that and every year it’s growing, baconfest has only been around for 4 years so far.

So.. what is this post actually about? well if you read my posts, especially lately, you would have noticed a trend, and that trend has been MUSIC, BANDS, LIVE MUSIC, CONCERT PHOTOGRAPHY.. so as you may have guessed… along with Baconfest there are bands! From what I’m told, baconfest in the past few years has had bands but they have all been cover bands or tribute bands and while that is fun and all.. sometimes they don’t bring in huge crowds.. this year however, baconfest stepped it up and brought in some class acts from the country genre! who played? well here we go:

THE RIVER JUNCTION BAND ( due to the lengthy drive to Lucan, I missed this band)
BUCK TWENTY
EAST ADELAIDE
ERIC ETHRIDGE

That right there is a pretty good line up for a small town.. it’s a pretty good line up period!

BUCK TWENTY

Buck Twenty was the second band on and these guys are phenomenal, catchy tunes, great stage presence, always smiling and interacting with one another, so full of energy and they are the nicest dudes too. With the sun setting and casting a nice golden light onto the stage, Buck Twenty comes out and takes a hold of the crowd. I have to say, a lot of people in this crowd knew B20 because I saw a bunch of people rocking their shirts. Buck Twenty does an amazing job at using the entire stage during their performance.. especially the sides where there are usually some sort of box they can stand up on and get up nice and high over the crowd and single themselves out which is awesome for photographs, which you will see in the set . These guys are doing very well and will continue to do so. I urge you to check out their music on social media, and check out their website.. if you see they are playing a show near you, go check them out.

EAST ADELAIDE

East Adelaide are an up and coming group based out of Toronto Ontario and they are fantastic, you definitely need to give them a listen if you haven’t heard them before.. their song “ You Don’t Get To Love Me “ is a fantastic one, very catchy and very powerful. Love seeing these guys perform, this was only my second time seeing them and photographing them, but i’m hooked. First time was in London Ontario at London Concert Theater on the “Winter’s a beach Tour “ with The Reklaws and I found them even better outdoors during the summer!

This guy right here!! Eric Ethridge, wow.. has this guy ever come so far.. From Sarnia Ontario, got his start playing JACKS in London Ontario, to a record deal with Ole’s Red Dot Label then making the move to Nashville! If you’ve ever met Eric, he’s one of the nicest people, humble and always tries to take the time to meet his fans. Even though Eric has blown up and moved to Nashville, he still finds the time to get back to Ontario often and still plays “ the little shows” because that’s where his long time fans are. Been almost a year since I’ve seen Eric perform and I was pretty excited to see what has changed and all I can tell you is that it’s better and better every damn time. Eric’s confidence on stage makes for a great show, he seems so relaxed up there and you can tell he’s doing what he loves. As soon as he hit the stage the crowd went nuts, people were running for the stage, packing in so tight, smiles all around, especially on Eric’s face when he saw the response. From “ California “ to “ If You Met Me First” Eric covered all his hits with the crowd backing him Lyrically, it was a night to remember. Eric even took the time to hunt down a bridal party he saw earlier and brought the bride to be up on stage to sing to her. Not only did Eric bring someone up on stage, but Eric took it upon himself to get off the stage and submerge himself down into the crowd while singing which made everyones night. Now, with being the short guy I am.. I quickly lost Eric in the mass and couldn’t get any shots of this but I knew he was down there making fans happy!

Tillsonburg ON Turtle Fest

Turtle Fest…. figured there would be turtles but sadly… didn’t see one, however there were turtle themed things, lots of vendors, a vintage car show, rock climbing, busking, and much more but what was I there for? …. the bands of course!

Kelsi Mayne, Nice Horse and The Abrams took to the stage for this years Turtle Fest and everyone of these bands just killed it! As many of you know I’ve had the amazing opportunity to work one on one with the lovely Kelsi Mayne and have photographed her and her band many times in the last year live. Not only is Kelsi a sweet heart but her band are genuine people, funny, and appreciative of where they are and what they have accomplished so far. This show was another success, playing all the hits, getting the crowd going, they sounded great, looked good and even played a new tune that no one has heard before “ S.O.S “ .. now that this blog is a few days old.. others have heard it.. if you were at the Sound Of Music Festival in Burlington On. this past weekend and saw Kelsi perform, you now know that song too.

Nice Horse, damn! this all female, energetic, amazing stage presence band is incredible… this was only the 2nd time I’ve seen them & shot them, first time being at JunoFest during the Juno’s week in London at Bull & Barrel and both times i’m just blown away by their performance. Nice Horse have these amazing vocal harmonies that vibrate through your entire body making you really feel their songs. Running around on stage interacting with one another, leaning on one another, guitars and basses up in the air, their drummer, Krista comes up to the front and sings, she has a stomp pedal to make sure the heart beat of the band is always pumping.. even a single snare drum on a stand off to the right of the stage so she can stand there and beat the hell out of it….. their whole performance is an incredible one to watch.

The Abrams, a name I’ve heard many times but never experienced live until now and let me tell you.. I was floored. They carry so much energy with them, also amazing vocal harmonies.. songs that are happy, are sad.. slow and fast it’s a great mix. From the Abrams I saw a fiddler jumping all over, a singer and guitarist kneeling down, almost praising a fiddle solo, a guitarist busting out crazy solos while throwing a guitar around.. it was an awesome experience seeing these guys play with such a tight sound and so much energy.

Over all, Turtle Fest was a positive experience, I think the bands had a great time, I know I had a fantastic time and from the smiles on the faces of the crowd, the people down in front dancing and all the kids running around, dancing and laughing.. I think they all had a fun time too!

THE ABRAMS

NICE HORSE

KELSI MAYNE

RAM RODEO TOUR - BURFORD ONTARIO

Horses, Bulls, Dirt, Dust, Tractors, Barrels, Men, Women and a WHOLE LOT OF ACTION!!!

RAM RODEO is an amazing event that is action packed with a bunch of tough men and women who put themselves on the backs of horses and bulls which throw them around like rag dolls. Not only Branco Riding and Bull Riding, but they also have a Stunt Rider our of New York, and Flag Riding Team.. there’s a lot going on.

With events like Barrel Racing, Poles, Bucking Branco’s, and Bull Riding there’s something for everyone. Personally, Bull Riding is my favourite .. the aggressiveness of the bulls and the power makes it crazy to photograph but really.. all of it is fun to shoot. Yesterday was a good mix of sun and cloud, wasn’t to hot but the dust was relentless .. normally they water the riding area, but it was so dry every time they watered it the sun would dry it up in minutes, so instead of wasting the water we just went with the dust.. I was covered but it was so fun. Some of these riders were thrown down hard, stepped on by the bulls and branco’s, got up like it was nothing and will ride another day.. just blows my mind. If the Ram Rodeo Tour is coming your way, do yourself a favour and get a ticket.. take the kids.. they will love it!