Kingstonist Concert Reviews: Back to the Farm marks triumphant return of music festivals

MacKinnon Brothers Brewery’s Back to the Farm 2021 welcomed thousands of attendees who enjoyed a strong bill of mostly-local musicians, like the Dan Taylor Band pictured here, on Sunday, Aug. 22, 2021. Photo by Virginia Maria Meeks.
Kingstonist Concert Reviews

On Sunday, Aug. 22, 2021, Back to The Farm Beer and Music Festival made its return for the first time since the pandemic pushed the pause button on live events. With a skillfully crafted lineup of bands that consisted primarily of local talent, the festival showcased a broad selection of sounds with something to satisfy every palate. From lighter bodied blends you can drink up all day, to the subdued meaty sounds that are reminiscent of wood fires and oak whisky barrels, Kingston local music was brilliantly represented.

Emilie Steele and the Deal paired succulent vocals and fetching tones with dynamic and weightless energy, while Hinterwood offered some refreshment with delicate vocals and crisp floral guitar tones. For fans of an earthier blend, The Mill Rights played with a more rustic feel and Boston Levi entertained with an earthy-yet-polished sound.

The Dan Taylor Band mixed soft, silky vocals and malty, rich guitars, creating a sound equivalent to the colors of milk chocolate, latte and hazelnut. Greg Ball served up as a robust porter, with notes of dark chocolate and espresso. Not to disappoint, Dead Root Revival’s spicy guitar and meaty vocals added smoke to the flavors of the day. The Wilderness displayed their complex blend of tart and funky with a degree of sweetness and deep malty notes, while Miss Emily rounded off the lineup of local talent with subdued smoulder. 

The Mackinnon Brothers Brewery event was the first festival of this size in the Kingston area since the pandemic hit. With the combined efforts of Mackinnon Brothers Brewery, festival event staff and volunteers, the festival managed to comply with all Covid restrictions, as confirmed by KFL&A Public Health on Monday, Aug. 23, 2021.

“KFL&A Public Health Inspectors attended the Mackinnon Bros. Back to the Farm Beer and Music Festival on Sunday, August 22 to inspect food vendors and observe requirements under the Reopening Act of Ontario. KFL&A Public Health did not issue any violations related to the event. MacKinnon Brothers Brewing Co. worked closely with KFL&A Public Health, prior to the event, to help ensure the safety of their patrons,” the local Public Health unit said in a statement to Kingstonist.

The success of this event proves live music can be presented safely during the pandemic. Check out Kingston Live to find out about upcoming events, like Limestone City Bluesfest and the Mackinnon Brothers Concert Series, Live at the Grandstand.  

Remember that local musicians, live event staff, sound and lighting technicians have been hit hardest by the restrictions placed by the pandemic. The situation is still very unstable for live events, so make sure you take advantage of every opportunity you get to take in a show! 

Emily Bisson, who has called Kingston home for the past 15 years, is dedicated to encouraging the growth of the arts in her adopted city. A native of Kentucky, Emily studied vocal performance, theatre, and music business at Belmont University in Nashville. Before moving to Canada, she worked in many areas of the music industry and believes Kingston is on the brink of becoming the next music city. She wants to do everything possible to make that happen. In addition to music and theatre, Emily has experience within multiple aspects of television and film production. 

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