By Keith Sharp
In the world of rock music promotion, credibility is everything. Establish it and the foundation is set for future successful events but lose it and it just becomes so much harder for the next promoter who comes along.
Brantford’s Jamie Stephens faced just such collateral damage when he announced plans to stage his two-day What The Festival June 13th and 14 last year at the city’s Lion’s Park. A promoter the previous year had pulled the plug on a similar event leaving patrons with worthless tickets and bands out their performance fees. So you can imagine the skepticism from local media and rock fans alike when a line up which featured the likes of Hedley, The Trews, Big Wreck, I Mother Earth, Lights, USS and Dear Rouge were announce for the inaugural event.
Yet Stephens, an established promoter who’s JSE Events firm has staged such local events as The Brantford Comedy Festival and Grandelicious Food and Wine Show, joined forces with Lance and Mark Calbeck (of Calbeck Investments) to successfully execute the show, even though they faced a torrential rain storm on the second night.
The event was successful enough that WT Festival will stage a major show on Saturday June 25th this year at the same Lion’s Park venue preceded by a free show on Friday June 24th at the downtown Harmony Square location.
“The success of last year’s show proved we could support a rock show in Brantford,” noted James Wright, event publicist who operates his own Kerosene Media operation. “We put on the show everyone wanted; we wiped the slate clean from the previous problems and started fresh with our own festival. The weather on the Saturday wasn’t too kind but to watch USS playing in torrential rain just made that event special
In planning this year’s lineup, the promoters were eager to sound out who the local fans wanted and the response was a resounding push for Billy Talent and Monster Truck, both of which have been secured for the Saturday show.
[styled_box title=”Monster Truck – Old Train” color=”black”] [/styled_box]
“I am also excited that we got Saint Asonia, they are like a rock super-group comprised of former Three Days Grace lead vocalist Adam Gontier, ex Finger Eleven drummer Rich Beddoe joining forces with Staind guitarist Mike Mushok and ex Stereo Mud bassist Corey Lowery,” enthused Wright. “They are going to surprise a lot of people.”
Another band invited to the main stage are Oshawa, Ontario’s Standstills comprising of guitarist/vocalist Jonny Fox and drummer Renee Couture, “Jamie and I saw them open at a gig in Hamilton, we had no initial idea who they were but their energy just blew us away,” noted Wright. “They are kind of like The White Stripes but the drummer is amazing. She is kind of like a female Tommy Lee, she’s moving all over the place.”
The Standstills is just one example of local talent that WT Festival organizers draft to compliment the star performers, The inaugural show featured local bands such as The Ascot Royals, Harbour and Pepper and Ascot Royals will also head up a second stage on the Saturday. A highlight of the free Friday show will be sets by five local participants in a battle of the bands event with the overall winner advancing to play on Saturday’s main event alongside Billy Talent, Monster Truck Saint Asoria and The Standstills. Highlight of the Friday concert is a yet-to-be-named headline performer,
With tickets set at just $49.99, Saturday’s concert is a real bargain and Wright is confident that Telephone City fans will be out in force to support this key concert event. For more information link to www.WTFest.ca. Tickets can be booked by linking to either www.ticketme.ca or www.TicketScene.ca.