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Caledon Music Festival returns after year-long hiatus 

By Rob Paul, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

For lovers of music and musicians alike, it's a special time as live performances begin to return to some semblance of normalcy after the pandemic took them away for such a long stretch of time. 

This past weekend was a particularly big one locally with the return of the Caledon Music Festival after its cancellation in 2020. 

Last year was the first year the event didn't move forward since its inception in 2014. 

The event brought professional performers together with a live audience to enjoy on Friday night and Sunday afternoon—they even performed a surprise pop-up show at the Terra Cotta Conservation Area. 

Having gone about 18 months without playing a live show to an audience, the Caledon Music Festival was a special weekend for the performers who could feel the energy of the audience and the excitement of the return of live music. 

“Both Friday night, Sunday afternoon, and our Saturday pop-up concert at the Terra Cotta Conservation Area went so amazingly,” said Emily Rho, Caledon Music Festival Artistic Director. “It was just so good to see people come together to listen to live music for the first time in so many months since the pandemic started. A lot of us are performing musicians who do this as a career, but this had a significance going beyond the professional engagement. We felt that this was a really special event that reminded us why we play music and why we want to share it with people. It was special from the performer's perspective, but also from the audiences'. I've been getting messages pouring in after the weekend from people saying how much they loved it and how much they missed it. I think that's a good sign that people loved all three events.” 

Leading up to the Caledon Music Festival, Rho was able to finalize a bonus day of playing for the performers with a special pop-up concert at Terra Cotta on Saturday evening and she was overjoyed to see the musicians thrive in that setting. 

“We had a pop-up concert on the Saturday,” she said. “We brought a few performers to the stage they had at the conservation area and it was a free event for anyone who was in the area. We wanted the people there to stumble upon live music and enjoy it with us, in a sort of serendipitous way. It was beautiful because we had a string quartet and a singer there and all of the string instruments are made out of natural wood and with the wood surrounding the area and the people, it became a magical experience.” 

This year the event took advantage of the newly tented Alton Mill Annex at the Alton Mill Arts Centre, and the venue was a smashing success both for the sound and the ambience it added. 

“In early July, we went out with a couple of musicians to do a soundcheck just to see how the instruments would sound under the tent,” Rho said. “It sounds really great under there and some of the most discerning musicians were extremely happy with the sound quality under the tent. It was very resonated, rich, and gave it a really live sound. Even with about 100 people in the audience, we didn't lose any of the quality and it was really an enjoyable space to play in and take in the music.” 

The challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic didn't make it easy to pull of the festival this year, but Rho says it was that much more rewarding to see it go off without a hitch and gives her high hopes for the future. 

“I've presented concerts for many years, but this year is so different from any presenting I've ever done,” she said. “I'm glad I had support from the venue, our own team, and the musicians were very consciences of the major changes we were going through and dealing with. Even from the audience, they were very respectful of the safety regulations. Really, it couldn't have gone better, Friday was quite full, and Sunday was sold-out. Having done it this way this year, it gives us a lot of confidence moving forward for next year and the year after because this year was so different.” 



Post date: 2021-09-16 13:46:32
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