Bridging the gap

The latest edition of Apple Crisp’s Music Festivals offers hip hop, experimental and bluegrass tunes

The folks at Apple Crisp are paying attention to what their city desires.

With ears to the ground, the arts organization’s festivals, concerts, records and zine releases consistently seek to inspire and engage the community. Apple Crisp wants to make the community more vibrant, diverse and supportive of Kingston’s performing artists.

Their latest festival kicks off tonight at The Mansion with hip hop, experimental and bluegrass artists throughout the weekend. This time around, the Apple Crisp volunteers had some additional hands on deck.

“A pretty big focus this year is collaborating with CFRC and with artignite,” said Greg Tilson, one of the many faces behind the Apple Crisp collective.

“We wanted to support the initiative that artignite has taken to take steps towards bridging the gap between the Queen’s community and the Kingston general community and of course to compliment that partnership, we’ve teamed up with CFRC for a lot of the programming.

“A good chunk of our proceeds will help go to the funding drive that’s taking place with CFRC right now.”

Holding a festival boasting three strikingly different genres might seem like a logistical nightmare, but with the help of the CFRC radio skill set, the harmony should come as no surprise, he said.

“More than any other year, we’re trying to show a huge range of diversity in programming,” Tilson said. “It helps us bridge some of those gaps with audiences.”

New acts are featured from in and out of town, with a night dedicated to each style of music. This speaks to a demand from audiences in Kingston for a multitude of musical niches.

“It’s to reach out to different communities,” Tilson said. “Friday is hip hop themed but we’re also featuring a Queen’s break dance group called Kinetiq and a high school hip hop band called Unconscious Encore. Some have graduated already … they’re a pretty new band, they’re just so passionate.”

Saturday brings experimental themed programming to The Mansion with captivating local performers Decomposing Pianos and Vancouver based improvisational transcendental violinist Jesse Zubot and his accompanying drummer Jean Martin.

On Saturday Zubot will host a free workshop to break down the mystifying layers of his creative production, an event Tilson said he was particularly looking forward to.

“I got to see him perform with Tanya Tagaq, who’s an Inuit throat singer, at the Vancouver folk festival and he is insane,” he said with a laugh. “The sounds he makes on that fiddle … I want to learn what his barrage of pedals and wires and all the crazy electrical things he does with his fiddle. I’m really excited to learn how he does it … to sit in and hear, ‘this is how I make this noise.’”

Bringing Zubot to Kingston speaks to the goal of increasing the festival’s reach as well as syncing with what has worked for other festivals and events in the city.

“That programming was inspired by the past successes of the Tone Deaf festival which also like us was a collaboration between Modern Fuel Artist Run Centre and CFRC,” Tilson said. “We’re definitely inspired by other areas of the community and other audiences where we’ve seen success in bringing people together.”

Though the Apple Crisp collective’s mandate aims to provide music to a younger crowd, Tilson said they’ve evolved to reach out to a variety of demographics.

“We’ve discovered that it’s a significant part of the arts community. It’s 20-30 something parents who just can’t get out to the evening shows,” he said.

“We held a matinee last weekend, it was a fundraiser and we raised over $5,000 with all the families, they’re just dying to go out to concerts.”

The high ceilings at Grant Hall should provide great acoustics for Sunday’s bluegrass show, featuring Handsome Molly with local bluegrass and a visiting band from Montreal, Lake of Stew.

“They’ve just been a hit with the Skeleton Park neighborhood families,” Tilson said.

See ‘Crispy Compass’ for festival and ticket details.

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