'Back to the Garden' We Go!
- By Cory Crossman
It’s August and it’s time to head Back to the Garden!
The London Music Office recently connected with Pete Denomme, which many of you will know from the London Music Club to help understand the ‘Back to the Garden Festival’. Pete is the co-creator of this event with Brent Jones. Brent the initial visionary came to Pete with a concept of welcoming the music community to his family farm five years ago. ‘Back to the Garden’ operates on a unique schedule as it works around the Jones Families corn crop schedule. In a three year cycle the festival operates two years then takes a year off to allow the corn to grow again.
Brent Jones (left) & Pete Denomme (right)
Here’s how our conversation went
LMO: Back to the Garden seems very grassroots. Is this a key aspect of the event?
BTTG: Yes. It’s because it’s a free festival that is completely volunteer led. The event takes place at Brent’s family farm and it is artist run. No grants or sponsorship etc. It’s about building the community through grassroots support and opportunity. Hospitality is given to all artists for taking part. 75 musicians will play over the two days and it’s really about having an event that brings the music community together.
LMO: For those who have never attended, this festival may look a bit different. What can folks expect?
BTTG: It’s held in a beautiful setting at the Jones Family Farm. A couple of peaceful days of music. Artisans come at no charge and just set up. A line up of 30 acts with all kinds of local roots based artists. You’ll also experience a couple of regional acts and a number of Australian acts that are in the area for the summer. Lots of familiar faces with sound being provided by Bob Breen’s (formerly of OIART) new production company, Armor Pro Audio Visual.
LMO: What would you say the goal of Back To The Garden is?
BTTG: A celebration of music and art that is able to bring our community together!
LMO: How do you see the festival evolving in the coming years? Do you see it changing?
BTTG: First of all, it’s already changed. It’s gone from a one day event to two days which incorporates the new indoor venue. One of the things that makes it special is artists love coming out and playing the festival. That said, we anticipate the festival to continue to grow organically as more people attend. We’re expecting 1,000 attendees this year. It continues to grow more each year. Saturday night we expect it to be very busy.
LMO: Tell me about the new indoor venue?
BTTG: The Jones family have added a big expansion to the festival. They have fixed up their barn and it’s looking great. There was a wedding in there last weekend! It’s a nice addition and the barn will allow for acoustic acts to play inside this year.
LMO: As a venue owner how important are festivals?
BTTG: Festival season is hugely important to the artists. Artists get to be in front of much larger audiences and artists always seem to do well at music festivals. The larger audience results in higher merchandise sales. For people putting things on, it’s a great way to showcase artists. We’re able to showcase 30+ artists! It’s almost like it becomes its own OFM (Ontario Folk Music Conference). It becomes a spotlight that works on so many different levels for the music industry, musicians and fans.
FESTIVAL BY THE NUMBERS
All Ages?: Yes
Local Acts: 24
Total Acts: 30
Staff: 0 - it's all volunteers!
Full lineup of artists and links available on the Facebook Page