Day 2 of Westfest was another perfect summer day on the grounds of the Tom Brown Arena & Park. The day kicked off with an interesting and informative panel discussion that consisted of four people heavily involved in shaping their communities through cross collaboration by various artistic means.
Topics and questions revolved around how the arts can be used as a key tool in helping to bring awareness to issues of racism and cultural indifference in order to break down barriers that stunt the growth of communities, and society as a whole. Panelists included Ehren Thomas (aka Bear Witness of A Tribe Called Red); Fiona Wright (Carleton University’s Education coordinator); and Elsa Mirzaei (DIY Spring Festival, and singer in Lake Urmia), co-ordinated by artist, activist, and professor, Cara Tierney.
The day ensued with another arsenal of talented musicians that continued to reflect the artistic diversity that Westfest is known for. Soulful delights involved local acts, Iyono Ede & The Leaning Lights, Kimberly Sunstrum, and Rita Carter, who all got the crowd moving with their spirited grooves behind lyrics that delivered powerful messages.
Folk duo from Kingston, Kris + Dee performed their organic brand of beautiful folk melodies, steeped in the perfect union of their voices, while local songstress Julie Corrigan swept the audience away with her sweet and smooth vocals wrapped around her folk/country material that ranged from ballads to energetic foot-stompers.
Performances capped off with Toronto headliners, The Pursuit of Happiness, who are on tour promoting their upcoming deluxe double vinyl and CD re-issue of their debut album, Love Junk, released 30 years ago. Diehard fans filled the grounds to enthusiastically embrace the music of this band, who brought the crowd on a time warp back to their teenage angst. Power pop/rock favourites like “She’s So Young”, “Hard To Laugh”, “Cigarette Dangles”, and mega hit “I’m An Adult Now” had the audience rocking and bobbing on their feet… many chanting the lyrics right along with them. It was an exhilarating ending to another magnificent day of music at Westfest.
The party continued upstairs inside the fully accessible Tom Brown Arena to the sound of bands, River City Junction with special guests Thomas Starwalker Clair and Mauro Scatozza.
Westfest celebrates their 15th Anniversary from Friday June 8 to Sunday June 10 at Tom Brown Arena and Park, located at 141 Bayview Road. Westfest is a free and inclusive music/arts festival. For more information, please visit www.westfest.ca