Serena Ryder to headline HoCo’s ReUnion Street Festival

Festival continues to be filled with Canadian talent in its fourth year

Image supplied by: Journal File Photo

Despite Serena Ryder headlining, this year’s ReUnion Street Festival is more than just a concert.

In its fourth year of operation since Queen’s Homecoming returned in 2013 the festival provides a controlled environment for students and alumni to connect.

 Situated on Union Street between Division and University, the annual festival has always had one main focal point — its artists. In the past, acts like Walk Off The Earth and the Arkells have performed. This year, the headliner is Canadian musician Serena Ryder. 

ReUnion Street Festival Coordinator Alexandra da Silva said Ryder was chosen because she was someone both alumni and students could enjoy. According to da Silva, the main theme of this year is connecting these two groups through the festival’s activities. 

She wants to make this idea of interaction the focal point of the festival instead of having sole focus be on the event’s entertainment.

 This is a change in direction for the ReUnion festival because it’s never typically been considered by students as more than a concert close to campus.

 To work towards this, this year’s festival will feature a games tent and a licensed drinking area along the stretch of Union Street for the first time. Not everything has changed, food trucks will continue to line the street.

 For the show’s first two hours, there will be performances by bands made up of students and alumni on the stage. 4k Dharma is one such band featuring Queen’s alum that will make an appearance on Saturday.

 The lead singer and rhythm guitarist of the band Marc Lalonde spoke with The Journal about performing at his alma mater.

 Lalonde graduated in 1986 with a degree in Religious Studies and now works as a professor at Concordia. When Lalonde was a student at Queen’s, he and ‘The Dharma Bombs’, as they were known then, played at many places on campus. Lalonde explained a Seattle punk band had taken the domain of the original band title and so they became 4k Dharma. 

 “We played all over campus and Kingston… it’s going to be a lot of fun coming back to Queen’s,” Lalonde said. “I began to write a lot of songs last year, so I got in touch [with] my old bandmates to see if they wanted to play.” 

 Members of 4k Dharma are split living between Kingston, Toronto and Montreal but they still come together in Kingston every eight weeks to play. 

 On Saturday, they’ll be sharing a stage with The Kents, who will be rocking the crowd until Ryder takes the stage from 10:30 p.m. to midnight. She’ll be followed by a DJ who will play for the remainder of the event. 

 “I want to make sure people know that the festival will be going all the way till 2 a.m.” da Silva said. 

 She explained her concern with many people in previous years assuming the festival concludes once the headliner performance is over. 

Alexandra da Silva and her team have made the festival come alive with more than just music by using the whole space allotted to them. 

 “The licensed area, outside of Douglas Library and Gordon Hall… is marketed towards alumni and older students” she said. “It’s just a relaxed, chill place outside of the crowd that helps facilitate interactions between alumni and students.” 

 The ReUnion Street Festival is expanding to accommodate these connections, says da Silva. “A big thing for a lot of alumni is the ability to chat with current students and to see what their experience at Queen’s is like…I think the festival will do that.”



Homecoming, ReUnion Street Festival, Serena Ryder

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