This Saturday, May 9th will mark the first of what will hopefully become an annual event in Kingston: The Homegrown Music Festival. The festival will host over 60 local bands at 9 different downtown venues. The event is a fundraiser for The Joe Chithalen Musical Instrument Lending Library (AKA Joe’s MILL).
Joe Chithalen was a musician in Kingston who worked with various bands in the area. Almost ten years ago he was touring in Amsterdam with The Mahones when he died from a reaction to a food allergy. Close friends worked together to form Joe’s MILL and the library has grown and flourished over the years, lending out hundreds of instruments. Of course, like any charity, more funds are always needed to keep things going, leading to the idea of a local music festival fundraiser.
The Homegrown Festival was initiated by Roger Eccleston, MILL librarian, local musician, host on CFRC and coordinator of Sweet Folk All (the local folk jam that occurs every odd Sunday at the RCHA) along with Tom Stewart who is a musician and was an organizer of the All Folks Festival back in the 90’s.
The festival will feature local bands of all sorts with venues for blues, folk, rock, jazz, Celtic, eclectic, country and alternative music. These bands had to apply to be a part of the show and many were turned away due to a lack of time and space. It is a rare occasion to see bands fighting to play for free. This is the effect of Joe Chithalen and the Lending Library. Proceeds from the event will also go towards The Partners in Mission Food Bank. Bracelets are $10 (or $5 and a food donation) and will get you into every venue. They can be purchased at Brian’s Record Option, Renaissance Music and Kingston Sound Works.