Lineup announced for 2023 Spring Reverb festival

Kingston’s Oakridge Ave. is one of several local bands headlining shows as part of this year’s Spring Reverb Festival. Photo by Virginia Maria Photography.

Organizers of Spring Reverb, a four-day showcase of live concerts and music industry events, have announced the full lineup for this year’s festival, which includes a wide range of local bands and musicians, as well as some popular Canadian and North American artists. Headlining this year’s event, which runs June 1 to 4, 2023, are Detroit’s Electric Six, and Oshawa-based pop act Dizzy.

“I don’t want to say [the festival] programmed itself… We said, so many times, ‘I think we’re really close, I think we’re really close,’ and then some [new] band [or] opportunity would present itself,” said Moira Demorest of KPP Concerts, the main organizer of Spring Reverb. With the festival scheduled for the first weekend in June, Demorest noted many national and North American artists are already on tour, allowing Spring Reverb to attract some big names. 

“There’s a lot of bands that are touring during this time. There’s also… Canadian Music Week happening the next week [in Toronto], so we have lots of artists that are touring and in Ontario anyway. So, we’re tapping into that.”

Other touring acts taking part in this year’s Spring Reverb include hardcore punk band Fucked Up, synth pop artist Moon King, both from Toronto, as well as Calgary’s Belvedere, stalwarts of the Canadian skater-punk scene. 

While the event is a great way to bring major national and North American artists to the Limestone City, Spring Reverb also acts as a showcase for Kingston’s emerging musical talent. For 2023, a total of nine shows feature Kingston-based headliners, including opening night, when local hip-hop performer Keaton plays the Broom Factory, while rock band Oakridge Ave. tops the bill at the Ale House. 

In order to select the local talent taking part in this year’s festival, organizers invited applications from bands and other musicians in the Kingston area, the response to which was “overwhelming,” according to Demorest. “We opened the applications to everyone this year, and we had some great artists, so it was really hard.” 

For bands like Oakridge Ave., events like Spring Reverb are vital to the lifeblood of Kingston’s music industry. “KPP and events like this really help keep the Kingston music scene alive in many ways. The venues are amazing in their own right, but having these kinds of events that bring lots of cool bands together… it’s just a great opportunity. I can’t sing their praises enough,” remarked lead singer Sean Patterson.

Spring Reverb 2023 marks the band’s second appearance at the festival, after opening for Lowest of the Low back in 2022. “Getting the chance to headline the same stage at the Ale House this year is pretty cool,” said Patterson. For the better part of the last year, Oakridge Ave. was working on their sophomore album, a follow-up to 2020’s Endless Nights, which is set to be released later this year. The group said they’re excited to share some of their new music with audiences during their Spring Reverb show.

“We’ve been kind of holed up in the studio a lot… over the last year and a half or so. We’ve got a lot of cool music in the barrel that we’re excited to play and we’re kind of raring to go to get it live on stage and get it in people’s ears,” Patterson expressed.

Oakridge Ave. will be performing on Thursday, Jun. 1, 2023, at The Ale House. Showtime is set for 7:30 p.m., with opening acts The Codas, Texas King, and Nice On.

One act that brings local flare and national recognition to Spring Reverb 2023 is Gord Sinclair, who headlines a show on Saturday, Jun. 3, 2023, at the Broom Factory, with support from Julia Finnegan. Demorest said that, as the promoter, she’s been working to book the bassist from The Tragically Hip for several years now.

“He’s pretty much Kingston royalty. We’re just so thrilled to include him in this lineup… We had been in talks pre-pandemic, working on an album release… So I was really thrilled that finally, after all this time, we’re able to produce a show together,” she said. 

With a lineup of over 50 artists, Spring Reverb 2023 is sure to feature something for everyone, as organizers have scheduled 18 separate concerts across the four-day weekend. Not only does the festival feature a wide range of different musical genres, such as rock, punk, hip-hop, and folk, but promoters have also worked to ensure the lineup is diverse, especially in terms of gender representation. 

“A lot of the programming consultation and curation is looking at artists and making sure that we’re, as much as possible, helping to curate a diverse lineup of genres, of ages, of talents, of everything,” Demorest said. “[At] KPP… our roots are in punk and metal, and those [genres] aren’t necessarily always for female artists… I think we’ve spent a lot of time trying to be conscious and cognizant of that. We’re not perfect, we don’t pretend to be, [but] we’re always trying to program the best [artists] and think about those things in the process.” 

This year’s festival features a number of female artists, including headliners Lauren Carson, Dizzy, and Piner. Spring Reverb 2023 also includes several rising Indigenous stars, such as Status/Non-Status and Noelle

As Spring Reverb enters its second year, Demorest noted some changes for 2023, including partnerships with new venues and local arts groups, allowing the festival to reach a wider audience and tap into new segments of the community.

“We knew we wanted to showcase the Broom Factory and the Mansion, [which] are staples of our live music scene. But, [we thought], how could we include other people [and] other promoters?”  she explained.

“This year, we have a Pop Montreal showcase, [there’s] a Skeleton Park Arts Festival showcase at Next Church, and we’re using Laura Kelly’s Many Moons Events [for] a showcase at the Grad Club. We’re digging into that collaborative festival spirit.” 

With the full performance lineup for Spring Reverb 2023 now released to the public, organizers are now putting the finishing touches on the festival’s workshops, networking opportunities, and other music-industry special events, all of which will be announced on May 1. “We’ll have industry label reps and artist booking agents, [people] like that who are associated with the acts who are there. [They] are going to come and be part of panels and artist round tables,” Demorest added.

According to Demorest, the festival aims to provide a showcase for Spring Reverb-specific artists, while also creating an environment where fans and performers can interact with each other alongside representatives from the music business. “We want to make sure [Spring Reverb artists] are showcased, [while] also [allowing] Kingston music lovers and musicians to interact and be part of panels and get the opportunity to network.” 

A complete list of Spring Reverb performances, including showtimes and ticket information, can be found on the festival website. While several shows are free, tickets for paid events can be purchased now. With several events expected to sell out, interested festival-goers are encouraged to get their tickets while they can. 

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