Kitchener Blues Fest makes pandemic pivot with Crossroads 2021
With the Kitchener Blues Festival on hold for the second year running, organizers have turned their attention this weekend to hosting another, more COVID-friendly event.
The event, called KBF Crossroads 2021, runs through 11:00 PM on Sunday evening and features multiple shows in various locations around downtown Kitchener. And while it’s not the Kitchener Blues Festival, the organizers say you can expect the same top-notch entertainment they deliver year after year; Included in the list of bands and musicians are The Trews, who will take the stage at the Bobby O’Briens this evening at 9:30 p.m.
“This is not the Kitchener Blues Festival as everyone has come to love it,” Kitchener Blues Festival President Rob Barkshire told 570 News. “We think the title is appropriate because we believe the entire community is at a crossroads as regards the pandemic and its evolution.”
Barkshire said even though they couldn’t host the usual festival that takes place downtown each August, they still wanted to provide quality live entertainment to the community and realized they could organize a smaller event with mostly local musicians to help Places to play with logs Place to “handle crowds and make sure everything is done safely”.
The organizers worked with regional health and safety to ensure the festival can run safely and in accordance with current COVID restrictions.
But for people who are still uncomfortable, some of the events are streamed live, including The Trews, John Lee & The Hookers, and Supernatural – Tribute to Santana.
“We also understand that not everyone is ready to face the crowds yet, so we have live streaming from two of our venues,” said Barkshire.
The festival started yesterday and Barkshire says they have had a lot of turnouts so far.
“We got off to a great start yesterday with a series of shows in eight different venues and we’ve had a great response so far,” he said. “We had probably the biggest crowd in the Bobby O’Brien area last night [with] 5,440, but the people who couldn’t get in were on the street and sidewalks in front of the venue. ”
He added that people were well behaved and seem to appreciate the chance to see live music in person. But not only the audience appreciate the opportunity.
“This is a real win for all venues doing extra business over the weekend; for all of the musicians we hire,” he said. “Musicians as live performers, that’s what they do when they step on stage in front of a live audience and make that connection.
“So much of their business has been wiped out by COVID; there were no live opportunities. More than one of the artists I spoke to said [that] Playing in front of a camera is getting old, and it’s just not the same. They live off that interaction with a live audience … and that’s why they’re just tickled pink that we gave them the opportunity to come back and do that and have a pretty good gig that pays for them too. ”
The 2020 festival was supposed to be your 20th anniversary festival, in which “higher artists” and presentations would have been involved. Although it has been delayed for a second year, Barkshire says they look forward to a great festival in 2022 as long as the number of cases continues to decline.
You can visit their website for a full schedule of the shows this weekend.
With files from 570 news.