Fred Penner to play Winchester Old Town Hall as ‘Festival of Small Halls’ returns to North Dundas

WINCHESTER — Canadian children’s music icon Fred Penner will take Winchester’s Old Town Hall stage this September as the local venue again serves as a host site for the Ontario Festival of Small Halls.

The Festival today revealed the internationally-renowned musicians playing Eastern Ontario and Ottawa Valley community centres this fall — including Penner’s Sept. 15 gig in Winchester.

Now in its fourth year, the 2017 Festival series runs Sept. 14 through Oct. 1 at an expanded list of more than 30 public halls ranging from Dacre to Kilmaur — to Winchester.

Festival General Manager Kelly Symes said this year’s lineup includes some well-known names in Canadian music, while also showcasing emerging artists who will be new to rural Ontario. “This time around, we selected artists based on their captivating live performance, their stage presence and the ability to connect with their audiences,” she said.

Organizers describe it as a mix of big-name familiar faces and boundary-pushing roots, folk, pop, soul and bluegrass-inspired musical acts. Participating venues host only one of the acts for their portion of the Festival schedule.

In addition to Penner, other artists on the circuit include Ashley MacIsaac, a household name in Cape Breton fiddling, as well as Halifax’s Jenn Grant, Charlottetown’s Rose Cousins and Montreal’s Leif Vollebekk. Kingston’s own The Abrams brothers will return back again after an explosive performance last year. Another festival favourite, Old Man Luedecke, who performed in the Festival’s inaugural year, will return after recently taking home the 2017 East Coast Music Award for Album of the Year.

The Festival of Small Halls touts a “unique” concert experience: seeing your favourite artist in a setting which allows you to relish the music and connect with local community.

Tickets for individual events go on sale 10 a.m. this Friday, June 9, at or phone 613.402.1425. Organizers advise concert-goers to buy early, noting that last year’s shows sold out.


Friday, Sept, 15: Almonte Old Town Hall – Great Lake Swimmers with Claire Hunter;  Chaffey’s Lock Community Hall – Jenn Grant with Taylor Angus & Logan Brown; Winchester Old Town Hall – Fred Penner

Saturday, Sept. 16: Joshua Bates Centre, Athens – Rose Cousins with Julia Finnegan; Dunvegan Recreation Centre – Jenn Grant

Sunday, Sept. 17: Morton Community Hall – Fred Penner with Barbershop Therapy; Balderson United Church – Jenn Grant with Christine Graves; Tamworth Legion – Great Lake Swimmers

Thursday, Sept. 21: Spencerville Mill – The Outside Track with Moore & McGregor; St. Andrew’s United Church, Toledo – Dave Gunning with Chris Murphy

Friday, Sept. 22: Delta Old Town Hall – The Outside Track with Change of Step;  Union Hall, Mississippi Mills – Dave Gunning; Althorpe Bolingbroke Community Hall – Sultans of String with Lost for Words

Saturday, Sept. 23: Merrickville United Church – Leif Vollebekk with Off the Grid; Lyndhurst Legion (Royal Canadian Legion Branch 504) – Old Man Luedecke; St. Andrew’s United Church, Pakenham – Rosie & the Riveters with Vicki Brittle

Sunday, Sept. 24: Tatlock Community Hall – Old Man Luedecke with Bill Connelly; The Red Brick School, Elgin – Rosie & the Riveters; Maberly Community Hall – The Outside Track with Change of Step and the Blue Skies Community Fiddle Orchestra

Thursday, Sept. 28: St. James Catholic Church, Maxville – Ashley MacIsaac with Change of Step; Portland Community Hall – Birds of Chicago; Batstone’s Northern Ramble – Ian Sherwood

Friday, Sept. 29: McDonald’s Corners Agricultural Hall – The Abrams with Ali McCormick; Seeley’s Bay Community Hall – Ashley MacIsaac

Saturday, Sept. 30: Westmeath Recreation Centre – The Abrams; DACA Centre, Dacre – Ashley MacIsaac with Change of Step;

Sunday, Oct. 1: Burritt’s Rapids Community Hall – Birds of Chicago; St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Kilmaurs – Ian Sherwood with Jillian Kerr


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