A two-day music festival is coming to downtown Stouffville early in the new year.
Wintersong, which is expected to bring more than 50 independent performers and artists into multiple venues along Main St., is set for January 19 and 20.
Organized by Kevin Ker and Epidemic Music Group, the event will also be used to celebrate the Guinness World Record that was set earlier this year in Stouffville, when a conglomerate of musicians came together at the Earl of Whitchurch Pub to hold the longest concert by multiple artists over the course of 18 days.
“It’s happening,” Ker told the Review, after his presentation to Whitchurch-Stouffville council on December 5. “We are going ahead as planned. It’s something that has come together pretty quickly but now everything is moving fast.”
Although Ker is seeking the town’s blessing and assistance to stage some of the events outdoors, he said most can be held inside at the 10 or 12 locations that will be participating.
Council may yet grant some street and park access, but needs more time to look at the implications. However, it will be involved through the development services department downtown coordinator. If the town gets fully on board, some of the events will move outdoors with street performances and park activities that will include ice sculptures and displays by local artisans and vendors.
Ker said the timing is right for the festival as it can bring people downtown at a time of year when there is not much else going on. He believes January is the right time as people get over the holidays and before the frigid February temperatures kick in.
He stressed Wintersong will be similar in style to other larger-scale music festival where, through a wrist-band policy, patrons will be encouraged to visit several if not all of the various venues to watch the many performers. However, unlike other festivals where the emphasis is on band exposure, he expects performers to get paid for their work.
“I think with the amount of sponsorships involved, the performers should and will get paid for their craft,” Ker said, adding that although the acts have not been confirmed, it will include an impressive list.
The festive atmosphere will also get a boost with the official recognition from Guinness for the record-breaking event. A representative from the cataloguer of world records will be flying in from the United Kingdom to make the presentation.
Organizers say similar festivals have provided a boost to downtown merchants who have enjoyed the benefits of the extra customer traffic.
“It really is good for everyone, 100 per cent,” said Ker. “There is so much opportunity here in Stouffville. We’ve got a great downtown and people eager to participate. We’ve seen that with other events and Wintersong will work because it will be good.”
He expects Wintersong to become an annual event and planners are also looking at creating a similar Summersong in July or August.
Event organizers are expected to finalize locations and a list of performers in the next few weeks, then embark on a full-scale promotional campaign.