A new festival is happening in the region this Saturday as we close out the summer. The Middle River Music Fest in St. Thomas celebrates two of the core things that bring people together: music and food!

Festival organizer Gabe Fontana chatted with LondonFuse to offer some info and insight about this unique festival.

From Farm to Stage

One of the things that sets this festival apart is the venue. The Middle River Music Fest is taking place at Common Ground Farm, a family-owned and operated farm that has been active for 6 years.

An evening at the farm / Photo via Instagram / @middlerivermusicfest

Gabe credits the generous spirit of farm owners Chris and Amanda DeVries as an inspiration to use Common Ground as a venue.

“Every year they open their home to new interns & employees who are eager to grow their own food and care for our planet,” he explained. “We saw an opportunity to enhance this space by sharing it with our community.”

The festival has even taken measures to make sure that reaching the farm is a smooth ride. It will be possible to take the bus to the farm, with a special admission package that includes transportation to and from the festival on the Bend Bus.

Once at the farm, festival goers will have the opportunity to buy some of Common Ground’s veggies. Along with produce from the farm, there will be more food available for purchase (including wood-fired pizza), and a pie auction will take place.

PIZZA. / Photo via Instagram / @lowlandsfirefood

Take note before tucking in: to limit waste, the organizers ask that attendees bring their own cutlery. Refill stations will be available for water bottles.

A Bountiful Lineup

Much of the lineup for the Middle River Music Fest is as homegrown as the produce! Attendees can expect to enjoy a blend of folk, country and blues across the festival acts.

London favourite The Pairs will be joined by Harrow Fair, The Shangles, Tim Bradford, and Greg Smith.

London locals The Pairs / Photo via Instagram / @middlerivermusicfest

With many of the performers deep in the roots genre, it only makes sense to enjoy their music staged underneath a beautiful black walnut tree.

“We’re going to be outdoors with the birds, bees, flowers and breeze, all while listening to heartfelt music,” Gabe explained. “Festival goers will have a view of the sun falling on the horizon followed by the stars appearing above.”

Bringing Community to the Table

It’s ultimately the intimate meeting of great food and great music that is the goal of the Middle River Music Festival.

“Whether it’s sitting around the dining table enjoying a meal together or huddled around a fire telling stories and playing music, these two acts bring people together,” Gabe said.

“In a world where so much effort is spent on separating ourselves from one another, we aim to do the opposite.”

The Middle River Music Festival will be bringing community together in more ways than one.

Proceeds from the festival are being donated to The Grace Cafe. The Grace Cafe is an entirely volunteer-run operation in St. Thomas, which offers hot breakfast and lunch every Monday through Saturday during the year to anyone in the community.

The festival is aiming to drum up extra support for the Cafe as the winter season approaches.

The stage is being set! / Photo via Instagram / @middlerivermusicfest

If you’re looking for a festival where great food and music meet with a heart to helping the community, you can’t go wrong with the Middle River Music Fest, a welcome addition to our region’s festivals.

As Gabe offered, “We’ve got everything covered, just come sit back and listen to the music.”

The Middle River Music Fest takes place this Saturday, August 24 at Common Ground Farm. Tickets for the fest are available on Eventbrite. The festival opens at 3:00pm, and the first act takes the stage at 4:00pm.

The property has limited accessibility. If you have accessibility concerns or questions, you can contact the festival here.

 

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