Over the course of four days in mid-July, the campus of the Kemptville College will be transformed into “the place to be” for guests from all over Ontario, Quebec, New York and even as far away as Europe.
From the moment that the stage, fencing, and tents roll onto the venue an army of dedicated volunteers prepare to greet fellow music enthusiasts and world class musical talent by creating a safe, welcoming environment that is now recognized as the Kemptville Live Music Festival culture.
In 2017 the festival will present amazing award-winning headliners including country sensation Dwight Yoakam, Canadian icon Burton Cummings and his band, legendary Canadian singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot and Canadian rock legend David Wilcox.
Live music has the power to bridge differences in lifestyles, generations, language and more to accomplish great results. From the initial request to the Municipality of North Grenville for approval to present this major event within their boundaries to the realization of the first event, the Kemptville Live Music Festival is a prime example of that power.
With less than twelve months’ turnaround, the concept became a reality when the first Kemptville Live Music Festival opened the main gate to welcome the first guests for an evening with Tom Cochrane and Red Rider, Friday, July 24, 2015.
Producing the festival was the dream of local Kemptville businessman Bob Besharah. For years, Besharah hosted one-day concerts in the backyard of his guitar shop, Class Axe Guitars, on County Road 43 in Kemptville. The events became a regular community draw.
In the summer of 2014, Bob approached the staff of the Municipality of North Grenville with his request for support for a major music event and was greeted with a firm approval to start the planning process. The immediate response from a core group of volunteers formed the organizing committee for the 1st Kemptville Live Music Festival and set to task designing and implementing organizational structure, timelines and operations plan to ensure that all aspects of a safe and professional product were delivered to first-time attendees, artists, and volunteers alike.
The first version of the event drew just over 5000 unique visitors to the area from as far away as Toronto, Montreal, North Bay and Syracuse. The second event in 2016 doubled in weekend attendance with guests in attendance from 7 Canadian Provinces, 5 States, Europe and Australia.
In it’s third season, online ticket sales represent a strong base of patrons returning for more great music. This indicates that the event has succeeded in delivering a quality product to which folks will subscribe on a repeat basis. It goes without saying that as the attendee base grows and the culture of the camping and live music establishes, visitor stays and spending in the area increases accordingly and this provides opportunity for businesses in the community to reap direct benefit of the increased traffic by enticing patrons to discover and explore what they may have to offer.
The 2017 Festival has added one full extra evening of award-winning music to draw the span of the event to four days and the organizing committee forecasts visitor spending to exceed $1 million dollars in 2017.
In 2015, the first festival operated with a strong group of 127 volunteers working in positions from admissions to traffic, accessibility, and information to bar services. In 2016 the volunteer body grew to 208 and projects a growth to 300 for the 2017 event.
Music and the opportunity to present a musical event that emanates a true pride in their community has brought volunteers of all ages, all walks of life and all physical abilities together to form a team that has earned accolades from patrons, artists and community alike over the course of the first two events.
Kemptville Live Music Festival has successfully defined itself as a local destination tourism event over the last two years and with the continued support of each pillar of the “business of festivals,” shall continue to deliver access world-class live music in your own backyard.
The 2017 Kemptville Live Music Festival is made possible through funds provided by the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport of Ontario, Canadian Heritage, The Government of Canada through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario and by the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund.
For the full festival lineup and showtimes visit www.kemptvillelivemusicfestival.com
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