WINCHESTER — Familiar faces will join up-and-comers opening for big name musicians on rural stages during the Ontario Festival of Small Halls this fall. That includes Winchester where lead act will be joined by Teagan McLaren at the Old Town Hall, Friday, September 15.
After announcing the 2017 fall headliners earlier this summer, the community opening acts are now finalized for almost all the shows, happening Sept. 14 to Oct. 1 in more than 30 cherished small halls across Eastern Ontario and the Ottawa Valley.
From a father-daughter duo, to a singer-songwriter who has charted in the United States, this year’s opening acts are set to bring home the community vibe at the Festival performances.
Festival General Manager, Kelly Symes, said many of the small town venues on the schedule have played a role in launching local musicians over the years, giving them a chance to be heard while playing for community events at suppers, dances and celebrations.
“So much wonderful talent can be found locally, in the towns and rural areas the Festival is in this year,” Symes said. “The local music scene is usually kick-started at community halls themselves; we’re thrilled to showcase that authenticity during the festival.”
To give an idea of the calibre of some of the openers, Sacha, who will be performing with The Abrams at Stonefields in Beckwith on Sept. 14 is already earning accolades in the country music industry. She kicked off the new year as an opener for Brett Kissel’s Ice Snow 30 Below Tour and was named 2016’s Next Country Music Star while being invited to play the Havelock Jamboree. Sacha was also chosen by the Country Music Association of Ontario to perform on the Artist Spotlight stage during the Lucknow Music in the Fields festival.
Other confirmed local openers include:
Thursday, September 14:
Stonefields, Beckwith – The Abrams with Sacha
Chaffey’s Lock Community Hall – Great Lake Swimmers with Seamus Cowan
Friday, September 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 with Teagan McLaren
Saturday, September 16:
Joshua Bates Centre, Athens – Rose Cousins with Julia Finnegan Dunvegan Recreation Centre – Jenn Grant with Jasmine Bleile
Sunday, September 17
Morton Community Hall – Fred Penner with Barbershop Therapy Balderson United Church – Jenn Grant with Christine Graves Tamworth Legion – Great Lake Swimmers with Solomon Woodland
Thursday, September 21:
Spencerville Mill – The Outside Track with Moore & McGregor St. Andrew’s United Church, Toledo – Dave Gunning with Chris Murphy
Friday, September 22:
Delta Old Town Hall – The Outside Track with Change of Step Union Hall, Mississippi Mills – Dave Gunning with Brad Scott Althorpe Bolingbroke Community Hall – Sultans of String with Lost for Words
Saturday, September 23:
Merrickville United Church – Leif Vollebekk with Off the Grid Lyndhurst Legion (Royal Canadian Legion Branch 504) – Old Man Luedecke with Anna Sudac and Jesse MacMillan St. Andrew’s United Church, Pakenham – Rosie & the Riveters with Vicki Brittle
Sunday, September 24:
Tatlock Community Hall – Old Man Luedecke with Bill Connelly The Red Brick School, Elgin – Rosie & the Riveters with Alex and Sean Price Maberly Community Hall – The Outside Track with Change of Step and the Blue Skies Community Fiddle Orchestra
Thursday, September 28:
St. James Catholic Church, Maxville – Ashley MacIsaac with Change of Step and Paddy Kelly Portland Community Hall – Birds of Chicago Batstone’s Northern Ramble – Ian Sherwood with Dean Batstone
Friday, September 29:
McDonald’s Corners Agricultural Hall – The Abrams with Ali McCormick Seeley’s Bay Community Hall – Ashley MacIsaac
Saturday, September 30:
Westmeath Recreation Centre – The Abrams with Midnight Vesta DACA Centre, Dacre – Ashley MacIsaac with Change of Step La Fraternité, Alexandria – Les Poules à Colin with Moonfruits
Sunday, October 1:
Burritt’s Rapids Community Hall – Birds of Chicago with Mia Kelly St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Kilmaurs – Ian Sherwood with Jillian Kerr
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