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Musicians and fans celebrate as live music returns to Kingston

Kingston’s The Wilderness was one of several local bands that marked the return of live music during the COVID-19 pandemic during Rockin’ The Rock on Howe Islands, Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. Photo by Virginia Maria Meeks.

The lockdown has finally lifted for live music, and fans couldn’t be more thrilled! On the evening of Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021, Howe Island’s Rockin’ the Rock returned and two of Kingston’s most promising bands broke the silence that pandemic restrictions forced upon them. The excitement and energy brought by fans alone could have powered the show, which was fuelled by solar panels brought in specifically for the event.

The day began with with a brilliant performance by Reckless and Banded, a promising new duo formed by Bea Keeler and Ryan Gollogly as a tribute to the late Matt “Jeebs” Simpson, and David Chesebrough presented Joe’s M.I.L.L. with a bass guitar in memory of Jeebs.  

Local favourite, The Bon Evans Band, got the crowd moving with their upbeat style before turning the stage over to The Wilderness who delivered the energetic and cosmically-epic brand of musical excitement that we have grown to expect from this incredible group of musicians. Rounding off the already electrically intense evening, Kasador delivered an explosive performance, before inviting the other performers on stage to join them to close out the night. Maybe it was the excitement of the return of music in this magnitude, perhaps it was the sheer quality of talent brought by these local bands, but whatever the source, Kingston is buzzing with excitement for the sounds we create.

Kingston-based quartet Kasador ‘rocked the rock’ at the annual Howe Island music festival, before inviting all of their fellow musicians who performed at the event back up on stage for an epic end to one of the first multi-band-billed concerts in the area since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo by Virginia Maria Meeks.

While the pandemic has been tough in every aspect, the hold on live music has been devastating to those in the music industry, as well as its fans. David Chesebrough, the festival’s founder, said “Rockin’ the Rock concentrates on music first and foremost without too many distractions from why we’re there. We will continue to give Kingston talent an opportunity to bring their music to potential new fans. Our focus is not selling products or marketing something where music is secondary.” He wants to remind everyone that musicians have relied on their skill and talent to make a living. “It is important to bring live music back into the limelight as quickly as possible to give hope to people that are involved in the industry and joy to us all.”

The future of live music is still precarious, Kingston. Take advantage of every opportunity you can to support the artists and crew that depend on these events to survive. Keep an ear out as live events are being scheduled in venues throughout the city.  Events this month featuring performances by local Kingston artists include Back to the Farm this weekend on Sunday, Aug. 22 and Limestone City Bluesfest on August 27 and 28. Visit Kingston Live for information on more events.

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