Oakville's Waterfront Festival Returns in August
Oakville Event will have a new look, feel and financial plan
After a nearly four-year hiatus, the Oakville Waterfront Festival will return this year for the Aug. 2-4 long weekend in Coronation Park.
For 18 years, the festival that was held in late June, marked the beginning of summer in Oakville. That ended when it was cancelled for financial reasons in 2009.
Organizers said this resurrected event would be somewhat different from the festivals of the past.
For starters it will be free.
“We believe you are really going to love this festival. We have taken what was best about the old Waterfront Festival and we’ve added a whole bunch of new and exciting ideas,” said Bill Smith, chair of Celebrate Oakville, the organization holding the event.
“Judging by the significant number of people who have lamented the closing of the old festival, it’s clear it left a gap in the Oakville summer for those of us who do not necessarily have a cottage to go to every weekend.”
Smith, who has also served as president of the Oakville Arts Council and a senior manager in commercial banking at CIBC, said three years ago the Town of Oakville asked him to put a group together to review various festivals across southwest Ontario and come up with ideas for the Oakville a revived waterfront event.
While plans for exactly what this festival will offer are still being ironed out Smith said the event would continue to present top tier music.
In the past, the Oakville Waterfront Festival has hosted bands and artists including: Hedley, Jan Arden, Tom Cochran, Jesse Cook, Finger Eleven, Great Big Sea, Alannah Miles, Jully Black, Blue Rodeo, Colin James and Ill Scarlet.
“We are also going to spread it out to offer a wider appeal to other musical tastes,” said Smith.
“You’ll see some jazz, some blues, some country, big bands. All kinds of different music and we think that’s important.”
Smith said another new feature would be the gourmet food courtesy of an entire street of Ontario Food Trucks.
Returning features include a vendor village created with local artisans, amusement rides, activities for all ages and local craft breweries.
As a free event of this nature will cost some big money, Smith said, Celebrate Oakville has already found some big sponsors.
These sponsors include presenting sponsor Willson International, new sponsors Coldstone and Trinison and returning sponsors Tim Hortons, Cogeco, and Mattamy Homes.
Additional sponsors and volunteers for the three-day event are being sought.
“I’m very impressed with the corporate citizens of Oakville lining up behind this and I’m really pleased with the work of the mayor’s advisory group, which Bill Smith led for the last couple of years,” said Oakville Mayor Rob Burton.
“It was really good of him and his colleagues to step up and reexamine the whole waterfront history and then add that extra layer of research by going around the province and coming up with this exciting new concept.”
Burton noted the Town would not be contributing funding to the festival.
Smith said the innovative changes to the festival and money raised through sponsorships, which he said is off to a good start, should allow the event to succeed financially where some of the past festivals failed.
Despite the festival being held on a long weekend during the summer Smith expects attendance to be high noting past events attracted around 100,000 people.
“This is your festival,” said Smith.
“So tell everybody all about it and please come out and enjoy everything it has to offer because we want this festival to be around for a long time.”Content courtesy of Inside Halton http://www.insidehalton.com
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