In 1977 I was living in London, ON and came to visit a family member in Owen Sound for a weekend. I was so struck by the beauty of the country and open friendliness of the people that I decided I would like to live here. So I moved.
I soon realized that there was an unusual abundance of very talented people in this neck of the woods. I think part of it has to do with having roots deep in Scottish and Irish heritage (and a good smattering of everything else) where stories are sung and every song is a story. Everywhere you go there are wonderful musicians and artists. In the 70’s and 80’s there were a lot of places you could go to hear live music six nights a week and much of it was local, but sadly many of those places no longer exist. The Downtowner/Saloon and the Queens in Owen Sound, Duffy’s in Hepworth and too many others to mention scattered around Grey and Bruce Counties.
Summer Folk in Owen Sound started out small in 1975 and has grown to become one of the best festivals in Canada and perhaps North America according to some of the performers. This is a testament to the dedication of its founders and thousands of volunteers over the 40 odd years it has been running. This year there were performers from as far away as Ireland (Irish Mythen) and Italy (Beppe Gambetta) and the closing act on Sunday night was Coco Love Aldcorn who has recently moved to Owen Sound. If you’ve never gone to Summer Folk, you should. There is something for everyone and all of it top quality.
The Meaford Hall and Cultural Centre also features local artists as well as plays, films etc. I am pleased to say that Larry & Bev Gardhouse support local culture and business and sponsor the Hall on a yearly basis. (A shameless plug I know, but it is my article.)
So get out there! Go to a night at the Meaford Hall or Heartwood in Owen Sound or the Roxy Theatre or anywhere else that features live entertainment. Support your local venues so they do not disappear. You won’t regret it.