Sound of Music Festival 2016: perfect weather, great lineup

The Motorleague

By Carey Langsner, Rock At Night Ontario Correspondent

Burlington Sound of Music Festival–June 16-19, 2016

Burlington Sound of Music Festival
Burlington Sound of Music Festival

As the weather begins to warm up into the high 20’s Celsius [that’s low 80’s in Fahrenheit for our US friends] in Southwestern Ontario, festival season has arrived.

The Sound of Music Festival (BSOM) is held annually on Father’s Day weekend in Burlington, Ontario, Canada, and showcases the beginning of festivals in the area. The festival spreads along waterfront at Spencer Smith Park and into the downtown core and is free to the public. The festival not only features music, there is a full carnival with rides and food for the family to enjoy, and this year for the first time you could go parasailing along the lakeshore. Over the course of its 37year history, it has grown to become Canada’s largest free music festival. The entire festival is completely organized by volunteers.

The Festival features new and emerging artists, Canadian icons and returning fan favourites. Stages are located throughout the Burlington waterfront and downtown area.

The festival kicked off this year with a very successful ticketed event. This year the concert featured The Cult, Headstones, The Glorious Sons, Pop Evil, The Watchmen, Silverstein and Chemical Burn on June 11th.

Burlington Sound of Music Festival
Burlington Sound of Music Festival

Throughout the following week, the festival hosted a variety of small concerts at various bars and clubs around Burlington’s waterfront.

The Sound of Music festival really gets going on the Thursday June 16th when the two main stages open up. The weekend includes live music on two main stages, three secondary stages and also a large number of street performances. Some of the main stage performances this year are from Canadian artists; Mother Mother, I Mother Earth, Soul Asylum, Lighthouse, Jess Moskaluke, July Talk, Hawksley Workman, Junkhouse, Sass Jordan and many more.

A big surprise hit, at least for me, was on Friday on one of the side stages, The Motorleague, out of Moncton New Brunswick. The band consists of guitarist Nathan Jones, bassist Shawn Chiasson, drummer Francis Landry, and vocalist/guitarist Don Levandier. These guys are non-stop through their whole set. I realized while watching them that I have heard one of their songs on my local station. I would definitely go to see these guys again when they come back through my area.

July Talk, a blues/alternative band, closed out the Friday concert series with an exceptional performance. The energy coming off the stage was fed right back to them by a packed to capacity park audience. A large part of what makes July Talk unique is the interplay between the raspy sounding Peter Dreimanis and the notably sweet sounding voice of Leah Fay.

Burlington Sound of Music Festival
Burlington Sound of Music Festival

Saturday started off right where Friday left off, sunny, hot, humid and full of music. With lots of water packed into the camera bag, it was time to hit the pit(s) again. I started the day off at the west end stage where the festival had been hosting the Country bands for the weekend. The crowds at the Country music stage were just as large and enthusiastic as the fans at the Rock & Roll stage. After spending time watching and shooting the Country stage from a shaded pit, it was time for the 1 1/2 km (almost a mile) hike to the east end of the park, time to hear some Rock & Roll.

I was back into the pit of hell, in the sun between a black stage and a metal fence. The first to take the stage was AA Wallace from Nova Scotia. Their electro style rock music, which is not really my type of music, was not what I was expecting from a group on the Rock stage–but those in attendance seemed to be enjoying themselves. Next up, was Fast Romantics now from Toronto but, originally from Calgary Alberta. This six piece group has a very fresh sound very reminiscent of some of the early 70’s soft rock groups that I grew up listening to.

Closing out the evening was Mother Mother from Vancouver BC. This band was scheduled to go on stage at 9:30pm but, they were performing at the NXNE Music Festival in Toronto (about an hour away) at 6:40pm and with weekend traffic driving from one venue to the other would be impossible. What to do? The group was flown in by helicopter, landing at the hospital past the west end of the park and then rushed to the stage area by golf cart. It was quite a sight to see all these golf carts speeding down the main road single file to make the stage on time. Mother Mother hit the stage right on time and didn’t stop until their set was done an hour and a half later. There were no signs that they were fatigued at all from having already performed an earlier concert.

The year 2016 was another successful year for the Burlington Sound of Music Festival. The festival had perfect weather from Mother Nature, great music from all the bands involved, and great volunteers bringing the whole event together. I cannot wait until next year! BSOM, thank you for letting Rock at Night be a part of this great event!



Carey Langsner