May 21, 2024

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Buzz The Music

CrewFest draws 8,000 music lovers to Brantford

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Jeff and Paula Tustin of Deep River, Ontario, drove 5.5 hours to attend CrewFest 2023 in Brantford.

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It was the first music festival they had ever been to in Canada.

“We started going to Rockfest (in Wisconsin) in 2017 and we’ve been there quite a few times,” Jeff explained. “We’ve been wanting to see Bif Naked for a few years, the same with Our Lady Peace, and Live, too. The lineup drew us here.”

He said he follows Bif Naked on Facebook and saw her post on a Friday night back in January that she would be performing at CrewFest.

“We bought VIP tickets on the Saturday night and by the Sunday it was already sold out.”

Tustin had praise for CrewFest organizers.

“We saw the battle of the bands on Friday night. It was a good time,” he shared. “It’s well set up, well run, and the security is great.”

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On Saturday morning the weather looked anything but ideal for an outdoor music festival.

Jamie Stephens, one of the CrewFest organizers, said he was at Lions Park until about 1:30 a.m. Saturday for the battle of the bands shows before going home to get some sleep.

“Right when I laid down in bed the weather alert came out on my phone for 55 millimetres of flash flood rain, running until midnight tonight,” he said late Saturday afternoon.

But by early afternoon Saturday blue skies prevailed and the sun shone favourably on concert goers.

“We love Our Lady Peace, the Headstones, and Bif Naked,” said Ashlie Kover of Bloomsburg, just south of Waterford.

“It’s the music I grew up listening to, so it’s always good to come out, get away from the kids, see a great show and listen to our old school sounds. It’s fantastic.”

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Her partner Frank Weaver noted that when he graduated in 2000, all four of the headlining bands were at the top of their game and the couple looked forward to reliving that nostalgic sound.

The pair were particularly enjoying a performance by 50 Mission, a Brantford and Norfolk based Tragically Hip tribute band that Weaver said “is a proper tribute to a band you’ll never see again. They do a fantastic job.”

Stephens said he feels this year’s CrewFest is going to be the most successful year.

“We’ve got 7,000 tickets sold, and another 1,000 out with sponsor comps,” he explained. “We gave 600 tickets to neighbours. We know this is a huge disruption for them so our thought process with that is, why sit in your basement shaking when you can just come here and rock out.”

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Rainfall earlier in the day Saturday resulted in much of the day’s schedule being pushed back by three hours, which resulted in Friday night’s battle of the bands winner, Otherwise, having to be scratched from the main stage lineup on Saturday.

“They were super bummed out, but I laid out a package of things I’m going to do for them, and they were happy with that,” Stephens noted. “We’re going to make sure they are going to be on the main stage next year, the spot that they won.

“We have a schedule to keep for the headliners. With respect to the neighbours, we applied for a noise bylaw (exemption) to go until midnight. We do a lot of work to be in a good relationship with neighbours and we don’t want to go until 12:30 or 1:00 a.m. when we’re not supposed to.”

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