Barnstorm organizer reluctantly cancels Finch festival

Big guitar sound
Michael 'tic' Houston poses with a prop that debuted at the Barnstorm venue, his rural backyard, off Conc. 3-4 in North Stormont, in 2017. Zandbergen photo, Nation Valley News

FINCH — Like so much else, the 21st edition of Barnstorm in Finch has been cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Music is something that brings us together; Barnstorm does just that. I’m very disappointed,” said Michael ‘tic’ Houston, producer of the unique music festival that was scheduled to take place on Sat., Aug. 29.

tic said a decision had to be made now as there are still too many unknowns to risk going ahead with a large event — even though the date is a month away and local COVID-19 transmission has decreased.

Bands were already booked for this year; tic hopes to rebook them for next year’s event – same time, same place on August 21, 2021.

The producer said people are saddened about the cancellation, but they get it. “Barnstorm is a summer highlight for so many. Folks are naturally dismayed with the call, but they’ve been very understanding. It’s been heartening to see the response.”

Below, The Peptides perform at Barnstorm 18 in 2017.

Feeling wider concerns for the entire local music industry, tic remarked: “I’m worried about the live music business in general. It’s all about people getting together. I don’t think there’s going to be large gatherings for the foreseeable future.”

“Holding Barnstorm has been a concern for months. I examined different scenarios, but I just can’t do it safely. It’s all about the health and safety of our fans, crew and artists.”

Below, members of Good2Go take the ‘barn’ stage in 2017.

Barnstorm is a small annual music festival featuring alternative country, rock, folks, ambient, instrumental, metal, and other types of music not heard in mainstream world. Barnstorm bills itself as the perfect getaway for music lovers who prefer to experience live music and interact with artists amidst a beautiful natural setting. “The country gets a taste of the city, and the city gets a taste of the country!”

Once a year, usually the first Saturday before Labour Day weekend, the owners’ 200-year-old barn — the “Odditorium”, located at “The Sanctuary” in Finch — comes to life with friends, locals, and fans at Barnstorm. Six live bands of various genres, along with a DJ in the “Chill Zone” spinning tunes, makes Barnstorm an event not to be missed.

It’s also an annual gathering of CKCU-FM announcers who have a wealth of musical knowledge — tic himself being one of them.

Below, members of surf-and-spy-music band The Reverb Syndicate perform at Barnstorm.
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