What better way to kick off the sizzling heat of August than spending two full days soaking up live tunes on a grassy, open field on Wolfe Island?
The Wolfe Island Music Festival (WIMF), located in the quaint small-town of Marysville on Wolfe Island, has become an annual tradition for festival-goers far and wide. Local residents, students and people from out of town journey to Kingston’s waterfront, where they hop on the 15-minute ferry ride to Marysville — a town of 1,800 — to enjoy two days jam-packed with Canadian musical acts.
The acts are typically split up between two days of performance. On Aug. 8, acts are organized into four categories: The Main Stage concert, the Paper Bags Record showcase, KPP Concerts showcase, and the Flying V Productions showcase. On Aug. 9, OASIS Juices sponsors a full day of 40-minute musical acts from 12 pm to 11pm.
Although it’s considered a smaller venue on the music festival scale, WIMF crowds grow thicker every year. Last year, the festival boasted a total crowd of 1500 people. But one of its best features is that it isn’t overcrowded.
Many travelling attendees will set up a tent and camp overnight, taking advantage of the small-town camaraderie of Marysville during the two-day long event.
According to Virginia Clark, who has been the artistic director of the WIMF since 2004 and has been working with the festival for over 10 years, the annual growth has caused the festival to experience some growing pains in the past year. The result is a cooler option for ferry-travelers.
“Last year, there were so many people that not everyone could make it onto the ferry that takes them to the island,” she said, “so this year we decided to add in a festival express boat which will feature DJ’s on board, and is like a big party boat.”
The boat will leave from the same dock as the ferry — the Barrack Street dock at the bottom of Ontario and Queen Streets — serving additional ticket holders who might not snag a spot on the Wolfe Islander in time for the festivities.
This year’s musical lineup, which Clark curated herself, includes PUP — featured in Rolling Stone magazine as one of the best up-and-coming acts — K-OS and SHAD — two of Canada’s most renown MCs — and Kingston’s own Will Hunter Band, who are set to release their first record this August, among other smaller local acts.
Clark said she was pretty happy about the lineup.
“Getting to see the bands perform and watch the crowd react positively is one of the best parts of the job,” she said.
But planning an event like WIMF is no easy task. The crew plans the festival a year in advance. As soon as the festival ends, the crew starts again.
“One of the hardest parts is curating the lineup and deciding which bands to feature. There are so many amazing bands that audition and it’s really hard to choose, it takes a lot of time and it feels almost like solving a puzzle,” she said.
Clark also notes the team of people that she works with help to make the job easier.
“The amazing crew working together makes the whole job a lot easier, we’ve all been doing this for many years now and it’s great because everyone who works the festival really love what they do, have a passion for it and volunteer their time and work really hard,” she said. “Everyone is really fun to work with and we have a good time putting it together.”
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