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The Music of the Sound

Growing up in Owen Sound, I had very little appreciation for its vibrant musical community.   Maybe it was because I was rebelling against my musical family – my father and his two siblings have a long history of music in the area.  My dad and aunt both played in the Salvation Army Band and the Owen Sound city band.  My uncle was a founding member of the Tombstones and plays in many local bands including Sounder and The Bearcats.  But despite this family connection, I ignored the local music scene, grew my mullet long and continued listening to Van Halen on my Walkman.

But then something happened.  I was invited to Summerfolk somewhere around my 20th year and my mind was blown.  I’m not sure what I expected.  But I was amazed at the musical talent I heard at Kelso Beach that weekend. 

Kelso Beach Park in Owen Sound on Canada Day.

Little did I know at the time, but this festival was just the tip of the iceberg when it came to local music.  Over the next 30 years, thanks in part to my love of photography, I discovered many of the more local talents and venues this area hosts.  Below are some of the highlights.

Sweetwater Music Festival at the Roxy.

Somewhat smaller but equally impressive festivals take place in our backyard including the Sweetwater Festival, the Electric Eclectics Festival and the recent Owen Sound Waterfront Festival, where I had a chance to hear another fantastic local musician, Josh Ritchie.

Josh Ritchie at the Waterfront Festival.

If you’re not able to commit to a full day or weekend of music, the historic Roxy Theatre and Meaford Hall regularly host touring musicians for sit-down concerts.

Donovan Woods with Ralph at the Meaford Hall.

If you’d rather have some room to get up and dance, Heartwood Concert Hall is where you want to be.

Higher Funktion at Heartwood Concert Hall.

Many of our churches regularly host music events including the Noon Hour series that began this past Wednesday.  A little north of town, the Leith church hosts the Leith concert series.

During the summer, when being indoors isn’t necessary, outdoor events like Music at the Market and the Harbour Nights concert series can be found around Owen Sound.

Some of our local restaurants host regular jam nights and karaoke as well as local musicians.  Jazzmyn’s, Heartwood and Ted’s are three that I have experienced.  Ted’s used to host the most well known of the jam nights, although I’m still waiting to hear if it will return.

And finally, if that’s not enough, the new High Five Space next to the Roxy has started hosting some musical acts in a very intimate setting.  And, if you’re really lucky, you may even discover some house/backyard concerts around the area.

Marshall Veroni plays a local house concert.

Hope to see you listening at one of these events soon.

John Fearnall

Good Noise

All images are property of John Fearnall/Good Noise

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