Busker Fest coming to Old Town Kemptville


The Old Town Kemptville BIA board of management passed a resolution at their last meeting to go ahead with planning a downtown busker festival for the Spring. Executive Director of the BIA, Deron Johnston, says the members of the board were very eager to see an event like this planned for the downtown. “It was a nice vote of confidence for our volunteers,” he says.

The BIA has passed the resolution on to the Municipality, to notify them that they will be proceeding with planning the event and ask for their support. The resolution also identified the Kemptville District Community Association as possible partners for the project, although they are open to other partnerships. “We really want this to be a community festival,” Deron says. “It’s not just a BIA event.”

According to Deron, they have already been working closely with Jamming Around Man’s Herb Cloutier, who has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to organising concerts and events in Kemptville, as well as with the Municipality’s Recreation Coordinator, Tammy Hurlbert, who has connections with Orbital Entertainment, the company that supplies the buskers for Ottawa International Buskerfest. “Tammy has been very helpful so far and will be important moving forward,” said Deron. “Actually, the original idea to do this came from her.”

With the success of last week’s Downtown Promenade event, Deron is even more convinced that the festival is something the community wants and needs. “By the time spring rolls around, people will be chomping at the bit to do something. I think the community needs something to look forward to.”

Member of the BIA board, Melanie Charlebois, will be spearheading the committee responsible for organizing the busker fest. She says the sky is the limit when it comes to what type of acts they will have playing throughout the downtown. “We want a variety of buskers, not just music, that are cool, fun, and entertaining,” she says. “Something that people will want to show up for in the morning and stay all day.”

Some of the buskers will be coming from out of town; but Deron says they hope to supplement the professional acts with lots of great local talent. “This is our opportunity to show that talent off.”

The main event will be a full day of buskers in the downtown core, with a street closure on Prescott Street from Reuben Crescent to Reuben Crescent. There is also the option of having a concert to finish off the day in Riverside Park, which could be either a free or ticketed event. “We have lots of options for what we can do,” Deron says. “Even if for the first year we do the day program alone, I think we can still do one hell of an event that many people would enjoy.”

The nice thing with an open-air event in a relatively large footprint is that there will be plenty of room for physical distancing. “We don’t know what it will look like in the Spring of 2021,” Melanie says. “We will work with any recommendations from the Health Unit, no ifs ands or buts, to make sure everyone is safe and still hav- ing a good time.”

The organizing committee is looking to engage the community to make sure the busker fest is something that everyone will enjoy. Anyone with ideas, or who would like to get involved, can contact Deron at [email protected].


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