This week for my blog, my mind couldn't settle on what it wanted to write about. I finally decided that I wanted to step out of the confines of my home a little bit. So this week, I'm writing a little summary of festivals that normally occur in my town, when there is no COVID. If that festival is scheduled to go forward this year, I have included the dates as well. I'm hoping this will be both a little educational for me, who has never really gone to any of the festivals, as well as for other students, particularly new students, in my lab. To be clear, I'm not advocating you go if they are open this year, but some of them may be running.
Okay I added this note in later. It turns out, there are a lot of festivals that run every year. So I'm highlighting some of the ones I think look the most interesting to me, and then I'll link you all to information about some of the others. I've also focused on ones that would have occurred around this time, not year round.
This is both a big one and one that is happening really soon! As of the most recent decisions, Rib Fest will be happening in Victoria Park from July 29 - August 2, 2021. The festival will run from 11:00 am to 11:00 pm every day. While not exactly the place for vegetarians, this festival is a food extravaganza. Different types, varieties, and producers of ribs all showcase their best efforts for you to try. To make it even better, local breweries also show their wares. So it is really more of a Ribs and Beer fest. It's now known as Rib Fest and Craft Beer Fest jointly. While tasting ribs and drinking beer, bands perform on stage, giving you a musical distraction while you eat and digest. Here is the posting for Ribfest this year:
Here is the scheduled line up for 2021, taken straight from this site:
Thursday, July 29th: DefBombs, Juice, Frank Risdale, and The Finger Pistols
Friday, July 30th Zed, Loveless, Reverend Freddie & the Distillers, and Captain Finn and the Salty Sea Dogs
Saturday, July 31st: Blondee and the Gabba Heys, 63 Monroe, Black Donnellys, Lee Resistant and the Lost, All But Six, Solarus, Leanne Mayer Band, Alan Charlesbois, Brother Time, The Drop Pockets, and Mugsy
Sunday, August 1st: Pepper Jone & The Rockits, Chris Trowell Band, Tommy Solo & The Night Crew, Three O’Clock Train, Jim McGinley, Smokin Dave Band, Greg Lirette, Unison, and Nikki James
Monday, August 2nd: Live Band Karaoke, and The Finger Pistols
While I'm personally unfamiliar with all of these bands, I don't listen to music, so I imagine others will know them.
Sunfest ran this year virtually as TD Sunfest Connected. This occurred in early July. The Youtube videos of the performances, which were screened as part of the festival, are available on the festival's website: https://sunfest.on.ca.
Normally, Sunfest is one of the biggest festivals in London each year. It is a music festival that features numerous artists from both all over Canada and international venues. Many of the artists make a point to make repeat performances, becoming crowd favorites as they return year after year.
Here is a picture of the list of their performers and sponsors this year:
Western Fair and Park it at the Market
Normally, Western Fair is a favorite amongst possible summer activities. It has unfortunately, but wisely, been cancelled this year as a result of COVID-19. Normally, Western Fair is just that, a fair. Held in the Western Fair District, specifically at the Western Fair grounds, this event normally brings together fair food, music, rides, games, agriculture, and competitions. It is definitely one to look out for in the future. Here's a snapshot from the announcement of the Fair being cancelled, just to give you an idea of what it looks like:
This year, with the cancellation of the actual fair, another summer event, Park it at the Market, will be picking up the slack. Park it at the Market is an annual summer event that occurs on multiple nights over the summer months, sometimes as often as two nights a week. Park it at the Market runs approximately 4:30 pm to 8:30 pm on a given day. It is a night market involving stalls, booths, and food trucks that showcases farm produce, small businesses, and even ice cream! In recognition of the lack of Western Fair this year, after last year's was cancelled as well, Park it at the Market will have a "Fair" themed month during September, and will have Fair Food Boxes available containing treats and foods reminiscent of visiting Western Fair.
Trackside and Rock the Park Music Festivals
Depending on your taste in music, the Trackside and Rock the Park Music festivals are great opportunities to get outside, have some fun, and hear some bands. Trackside Music Festival is held in the Western Fair District, and features big headliners as well as up and coming musicians. The festival is particularly a country music festival, so if you like that kind of music, this should be a mark on your calendar for next summer over Canada Day.
The Rock the Park Music Festival is also held in July, but is held in Harris Park. This music festival was more aimed at classic rock music originally, but now also includes country and hip hop as well as other popular genres.
Other Notable Events (Not exactly in London, or not exactly festivals)
Two (and a half) other notable events include the Oxford Renaissance Festival and the London Comic Con/Forest City Comic Con.
The Oxford Renaissance Festival is the local renaissance faire, and is a bit out of town at the Dorchester Fair Ground. However, this event has got all you could ask for from an old-style fair. It has costumes, performers, jousting, turkey legs, mead, and many many many renaissance style clothing and accessory items for sale. This is one I in particular will be trying to go to, once it is safe of course. This event as postponed in 2020 to take place in 2021, but from their website: https://renfest.ca it looks like they are waiting and planning to return in 2022.
Forest City Comic Con is a self styled "nerd-fest" celebrating all of what may or may not be considered "nerd" culture. These are words taken from this posting about the event: https://www.londontourism.ca/forest-city-comicon. The event normally happens on York St.
Similarly, London Comic Con, which is held at the Western Fair District, is an event celebrating fandom. It features celebrities, Q and A's, panels, artists, comics, workshops, photo ops, and costumes. See more at their website here: https://www.londoncomiccon.ca
I enjoyed my little trip into looking at festivals here, but really it has only shown me that I didn't use my time appropriately during the summer I spent here prior to COVID-19. I'm looking forward to next summer, when hopefully I'll be able to take advantage of some of these awesome festivals.
Here are some of the sites I looked at to find the festivals, before looking at their individual pages, listed above if available:
A google search of "Festivals London Ontario"