Oona Woods previews music and more at this year’s Killaloe Craft & Community Fair.
It’s an Ontario mid-August weekend and what should you do? Gaze up at the Perseids meteor shower and marvel at the dust of an ancient comet burning up in our atmosphere? Or sit in a natural outdoor amphitheatre as sweet acoustic guitar dances on the summer breeze lulling you into connection and community? You could always join a bongo infused, high energy, joyful, multicultural dance session as you twirl with the original and neo hippies of the Ottawa Valley. Or maybe go a bit urbane in the country and throw shapes until the small hours as DJs from the Left Coast, Toronto and Wilno hit the glowing decks under the stars? What about astrology, yoga, forest walks, tarot, shiatsu, drumming, acro-yoga, and Tai Chi? Above: Ska Soundsystem from 2022 Killaloe Fair. Photo submitted.
Seems like an impossible choice. Fortunately — and I think you know where we’re going with this — you can do all of the above and still take in arts and crafts as you hit up the food vendors at the 47th Annual Killaloe Craft & Community Fair. The grassroots festival takes place on 100 acres on Mountainview Road in the Ottawa Valley from Friday Aug.11 to Sunday Aug.13. It’s a mere $60 in advance for the entire weekend with camping for only $10 to tent-it and $20 if you roll up in an RV. Or you can buy individual tickets for Friday or Saturday. There are also discounts for students and seniors. Children under 13 get in free and there will be plenty to entertain them, like a bubble gum blowing competition, dress-up parade, wand making workshop and a round of old fashioned kids games.
Friday kicks off with a blessing by Algonquin Elder, artist and storykeeper Roberta Della Picca followed by an eclectic mix of talent taking turns including hometown hero Russell Leon. Since a biker named Val taught him to play chords at the age of six to playing Heart of Gold on an acoustic guitar in the ‘80s, Leon has gone on to feature in Toronto Indie Awards along with decades on the Hogtown music scene. He’s bringing it all back home. You’ll also catch El Negro Del Zabra, Spencer Mundt and Leeny Jones before the bewitching Blue Hazel take the stage after 7 p.m. Then the five-piece fun bunch from Montreal K-Man and the 45s will bring more ska punk fusion to life than a Specials Cramps ‘80s reunion tour. The live music rounds out with The Arms and The Legs before the mighty missKriss takes you deep in the house on the hill as she spins her tracks before EROC serves up deep, funky and rolling bass vibes.
All day Saturday the entertainment rolls on with The Rockingham Choir, Ash Anderson, Red Sky Prophets, Liam Milne, the McLean Sisters and Gloria Guerriero before Sigrid Geddes sets up the Saturday night stage. Saturday evening headliners the Great Lake Swimmers bring the yearning atmospherica of indie folk to the grassy hill followed by the high energy blues rock of Lyndsay Barr. If you like a little social conscience with your blistering rhythms Kon-Fusion blend up cumbia, ska, funk, and rock with South American ancestral and traditional grooves.
After all this you might be sweaty, serene and sated but the tent will have to wait. Up on the hill under the DJ dome Trevor Knox will be laying down the saucy, high energy house. Second up, Seekquest introduces a little Pacific North West bass music to the scene followed by Bobby Jackets who grew up through drum and bass to Deep House, Hip Hop and Lo Fi. Basically this dude is on a mission to wring out the last dance you’ve got.
Now you can go to bed but you’ll wake up to coffee, yoga and a session on spirituality, which frankly you might need at this point, before you go soak your head at Foy Beach and make your way back to reality. The Killaloe Fair has woven itself into the fabric of the community over the last five decades despite a few gaps for Covid and the like. It is a unique event and you will not experience anything like it anywhere else. For more information about the Aug.11-13 fair or to buy tickets in advance go to killaloefair.ca