What exactly is the Dundas Street Festival all about?

If you walk around downtown and talk to the members of this beloved London arts community, they might come across as a) super excited to be alive for this festival or b) super excited to be alive AND involved with this festival. The word Dundas is litwerally on the street, placed up and down several car-free blocks on several street signs from Wellington to Ridout.

Festival Map

Click to see large map at DundasStreetFestival.ca!

From the sprawling regions of Sunningdale and Hyde Park, to the teaming apartments along Adelaide and Richmond, to the far-reaching corners of the 13 Wellington bus route; all of London Ontario needs to know what’s happening in the downtown core on the weekend of Friday September 16th and Saturday September 17th.

Before diving into a preview of the musical acts and the music and art showcases, it will be worthwhile to have a proper look at some of the festival’s music goals for this year:

  1. New acts! You may have heard of them, you may not have, but one thing is certain…all of these acts are new to the Dundas Street Festival which adds new exciting levels of discovery.
  2. Welcome to London Ontario! Whether you are a new, returning, or current inhabitant of the Forest City, one good and simple reason for you to attend this year’s Dundas Street Festival is the sheer quality and scope of London’s local art and music scene. 12 of the 17 acts are based in London Ontario.
  3. Diversity! Diversity and university (or college for that matter) don’t rhyme one hundred percent, but these days they certainly go together and represent a driving force of change in London Ontario. Are you entering or returning to university or college? Do you want to celebrate differences and experience multiple different varieties of art at the same time? Or maybe you just like having a large selection? No other festival in London Ontario has this much diversity in music!
  4. Many other festivals are male-dominated (especially in headlining slots). Dundas Street Festival believes showcasing strong women-lead acts as well as male-lead acts. Three of four Dundas Street Festival showcases are headlined by incredible woman-lead acts, plus there are numerous other amazing women performing in the festival.
  5. Did you think London wasn’t cool enough? It’s cool. Super cool. The festival is host to several musical acts that are making waves outside of London Ontario in Toronto and the Southwest, and also several acts that are set to make a difference or who are currently making a difference in the music scene.

With all these exciting goals in mind, take a look at the  2016 Music Line-up below!

2016 MUSIC LINE-UP!

dundas-street-festival-lido-pimienta1. Lido Pimienta

*MUST SEE*

The shining star of this years festival is Colombian born, Canadian multi-discipline artist Lido Pimienta. Communicating messages about gender, race, motherhood, and identity in Canada, Pimienta works tirelessly to create and perform countless and varied forms of art in London, Toronto and around the world. This past year Lido Pimienta made a guest appearance with A Tribe Called Red at Wayhome Festival and also performed at London’s own Grickle Grass Festival. In fact, this musical wonder will be playing with a Tribe Called Red at Yonge & Dundas Square in Toronto the following day after the festival. Lido Pimienta’s performances and art are filled with a strong energy that never fails to communicate her vision and inspirational messages. Have a listen to “Agua (Los Cabellos de tu Madre)”  a song about the earth’s most valuable resource below:


 

dundas-street-festival-raised-by-swans-eric-howden2. Raised by Swans

*MUST SEE*

Raised by Swans is solo artist Eric Howden, who is known in parts around the world, but hasn’t played London in years. With word out that he plans on releasing an album, you’ll want to catch his performance. He will lull us into a dream-like consciousness with his soft vocals and intricate guitar melodies at the magical showcase A Night Under Shooting Stars. Listen to his latest tracks “Öxnadalur” inspired by a journey to Iceland here:


 

dundas-street-festival-west-nile3. West Nile

*MUST SEE*

This electronic duo will have you out there and dancing in no time. There may be few regrets in your life. One of them might have been when you found out AFTER THE FACT that West Nile filled in for Fidlar at Wayhome. There’s a chance to make all things right and see them perform at home in London Ontario. Listen to the popular hit “Lucifer Baby” here:


 

dundas-street-festival-so-young4. So Young

*MUST SEE*

So Young is a pop rock band. We almost wrote a song about having a crush on you, but then you said something sexist. Now there’s a feminist rock anthem about you instead.


 

dundas-street-festival-pick-a-piper5. Pick a Piper 

*MUST SEE*

If you think you can’t and never will dance, you are up for a challenge with Pick a Piper’s fascinating poly-rhythmic compositions. Brad Weber is the main drummer in Caribou a world famous alt-electronic band from Dundas, Ontario. Listen to “Cinders and Dust” here:


 

dundas-street-festival-youll-never-get-to-heaven 6. You’ll Never Get to Heaven

You’ll Never Get To Heaven is the dream pop project of Alice Hansen and Chuck Blazevic. The duo explores a unique sonic space at the nexus of pop melancholia and the ghostly aura of early 20th-century art music. Latent pop melodies float through grey clouds of transmuted symphonic ambiance, electric bass, and vinyl sound artifacts.


 

dundas-street-festival-james-kirkpatrick7. James Kirkpatrick

*MUST SEE*

It turns out Game Boys don’t just make great toys, they can also be re-purposed and made into fantastic instruments. That’s what the incredible James Kirkpatrick does; when he’s not in London he’s showing his work to other people in other cities (like Japan). One specific unique and exciting feature of Kirkpatrick’s work is his inclusion of art pieces as a collaborative element with his music. Listen to these crazy awesome sounds here:


 

dundas-street-festival-glass-face8. Glass Face

*MUST SEE*

This group will take you to Jupiter and back with their beautiful vocal blending and electronic melodies. Their arpeggio guitar lines are also always on point. Listen to their hit single “Holland” here:


 

dundas-street-festival-wormwood9. Wormwood ft. Koine

*MUST SEE*

Wormwood is an electro-acoustic duo comprised of multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Christina Willatt and multi-instrumentalist/producer Andrew Wenaus based in London, Ontario. They bring together IDM and vocal pop. The band is currently collaborating with Koine Ensemble for live performances and plans to develop an interactive live performance for ballet and contemporary dance in Toronto.


 

dundas-street-festival-pony10. PONY

The band that would play on a high school roof at the end of a 90s teen movie. PONY is a funny, fun, fun-loving garage pop band formed in Toronto.


 

dundas-street-festival-wasted-potential11. Wasted Potential

Wasted Potential is a rambunctious bunch with their high energy guitar riffs and familiar stories about life as a young adult.


 

dundas-street-festival-afos-and-the-rude-youth12. A-Fos & The Rude Youth

A-Fos & The Rude Youth is a Rap lead Pop/Rock/Funk band from London, Ontario that is emerging as one of the city’s hottest bands to watch. The band brings a fresh sound to an often over-saturated music market. Their latest single “John Travolta” is available on iTunes.


 

dundas-street-festival-empyrean-productions13. Empyrean Productions

*MUST SEE*

Empyrean Productions is a collective of DJs, promoters, and music lovers dedicated to diversity the nightlife scene in London, Ontario.


 

dundas-street-festival-the-focklers14. The Focklers

A new Blues Rock band that will not hesitate to explode into sounds that will drive you into a swing dancing frenzy.


 

dundas-street-festival-kevins-bacon-train15. Kevin’s Bacon Train

Hailing from the Old East Village in London Ontario, their music has been defined as “That band who plays the covers” or “Covergrass” by St. Regis Tavern Regular and Kevin’s Bacon Train Superfan Rudbal Kelly.


 

dundas-street-festival-yessica-whoaneil16. Yessica Whoaneil

A soft electric/indie folk artist from London, Ontario. She’s been experimenting with her sound for the last decade, heavily influenced by the raw and honest melodies of Bjork, Cat Power, Regina Spektor, Bob Dylan, Laura Marling, Fiona Apple, and Coeur de Pirate.


 

dundas-street-festival-skank-honto17. Skank Honto

As a DJ focusing on the funkier brokenbeat sounds across a variety of tempos, Skank Honto controls the dancefloor with ass-wiggling basslines and head bobbing grooves with the programming skills for any timeslot or atmosphere.


 

MUSIC AND ART SHOWCASES:

 

  • Friday, September 16th | 8:30PM – 1:00AM

    Kick Off Party

    Glass Face and Pick a Piper will be joined by the jamming punk group So Young at the festival kick-off party on Friday night. The idea behind this showcase is to show a range of acts that reflect a snapshot of diversity into the festival that’s happening on Saturday. Both this event and the after party take place in the sleek renovated heritage building; Hassan Law Office at 142 Dundas Street. Join Facebook Event

    Octopus Beer Garden - 142 Dundas Street.

    Octopus Beer Garden – 142 Dundas Street.

  • Saturday, September 17th | 12:00PM – 11:00PM

    Octopus Beer Garden

    This venue features a sublime mural representing ocean life and the need for environmental protection. It was painted in honor of Stephen Watson, a dedicated environmental activist and brother of Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson. This line-up shows diversity and has a number of easy to love acts (during the day). It packs punch with various genres with just about something for everyone. This spot should be a full-scale party by the time Lido Performs. The fact that the entire stage area will be a beer garden also lends to the party. Join Facebook Event

  • Saturday, September 17th | 6:00PM – 10:00PM

    A Night Under Shooting Stars

    Something very unique about this festival is the presence of artist installations and exhibitions. While Nuit Blanche in London runs for 5 hours, these showcases will be like no other festival in London and combine music programming with exciting collaborative art pieces. The main showcase features London artist Gabriella Solti’s Shooting Stars Installation with ambient, acoustic, experimental electronic acts that will surely have the audience losing their mind. The Shooting Stars installation will center around a light show that condenses 50 years of shooting star activity over London. You the audience will also have a chance to participate by creating small plastic wrapped LED fireflies. Bring chairs and blankets and witness a simulation of two spectacular summer phenomena in London, shooting stars and fireflies, right within the city! Visit the festival website www.dundasstreetfestival.ca to learn more about all the artist installations. Join Facebook Event

Mock-up of Gabriella Solti's Sep. 17th performance and light program, Shooting Stars and Fireflies starting at 6pm - 10pm

Mock-up of Gabriella Solti’s Sep. 17th performance and light program, Shooting Stars and Fireflies starting at 6pm – 10pm

  • Saturday, September 17th | 10:30PM – 2:00AM

    After Party

    It’s Saturday night, you’ve just lost your mind in the Octopus Beer Garden dancing to Lido Pimienta and it’s only 11pm! What do you do? You take those feet and party taste buds of yours one block west to the Official After Party where Empyrean Productions and Skank Honto will laying down those funky/R&B beats all night til 2am! Empyrean Productions is a current driving force in the London Underground Dance community. They put on events like Afric (monthly in Hassan Law Community Gallery Space), they also DJ Motown Party at Call The Office. Empyrean Productions also put on the Sunfest’s After Party this year. Skank Honto is former resident of London and used to regularly spin at the first version of the APK when it was located at the corner of Talbot and Albert St. His Funk and R&B beats mixes perfectly with the Afrobeat Funk that Empyrean produces. Join Facebook Event

What else you should know:

So you’ve now heard about all of these musical acts and festivities, but you must know that it does not end there. Throughout Saturday, you may wander the streets and discover all sorts of arts and craft vendors from the area and community displays from organizations like the London Environmental Network and VegFest London. You will also have the opportunity to grab eats to go at food vendors like Glassroots and Smokestacks! Besides Gabriella Solti’s Shooting Stars and Fireflies Installation, there are seven other artists displaying their work. The artists are Jennifer Martin, Quintin Teszeri, Rima Sater, Danielle Brideau,  Neil Klassen, Thea Yabut and Brynn Higgins-Stirrup.

See vendor list at www.DundasStreetFestival.caThese two days are going to recharge your London Ontario culture batteries and you will once again revel in the delights of life in the Forest City. And if you are nearby or passing through, come experience a celebration of Canadian arts and culture that promises to be unique to this time and place. Seriously, downtown London Ontario will be the place to be on September 16th and 17th!

Learn more about #DundasStFest at www.DundasStreetFestival.ca!

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Adam Helmers

Music was everywhere when I grew up at my family house in downtown Kitchener. My dad is a musician, my mom loves to sing and I have many musical siblings. I moved to London Ontario where I work and am in my last year of English and French at Western University. My musical interests vary and I like to explore with Spotify and Youtube. I don't own a pair of #musicislife sweatpants but I should.

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