Hamilton’s Festival of Friends 2022: Back better than ever!

Festival Review

Monster Truck. Photo by Carey Langsner.

By Carey Langsner, Rock At Night Ontario

Live Review: Festival of Friends-Hamilton, Ontario – July 29-31, 2022

Snotty Nose Rez Kids. Photo by Carey Langsner.

After the 2020 festival was canceled and a scaled down festival in 2021 due to covid-19, the 46th annual Festival of Friends was back in full force at Gage Park in Hamilton Ontario.

The three-day festival got off to a tremendous start Friday afternoon with opening act Goodnight Sunrise and didn’t stop until late Sunday night.

Ryland James. Photo by Carey Langsner.

On Friday, the music was only on the main stage but on Saturday and Sunday two additional stages , the bandshell and an acoustic stage in a treed area by the fountain were also used.

Friday night’s crowd nearly filled the park listening to local band Golden Feather and Ryland James from Deseronto, while waiting to see platinum- selling artist and headliner Serena Ryder.  Serena did not disappoint and had the crowd singing and dancing along to all her songs.

All three stages started just after noon time on Saturday with Blues and Rock on the main stage, the bandshell was host to the Indigenous Showcase featuring Mimi O’Bonsawin and headlined by Jace Martin, and the Unplugged Stage featuring Ty Price and Sarah Beatty.

The main attraction for Saturday night was Hamilton’s own Monster Truck.  Opening the evening was Melissa Marchese, also from Hamilton, followed by Snotty Nose Rez Kids.

Monster Truck. Photo by Carey Langsner.
Serena Ryder. Photo by Carey Langsner.

Before the festival, I like to research the bands I don’t know so I have an idea of what to expect on stage.  When I looked up the “Snotty Nose Rez Kids” they are described as Hip-Hop Rappers.  This is not normally the type of music that I shoot, especially at festivals.  I was totally blown away by not just their music but also by their stage presents.  They were entertaining and totally had the crowd pumped.  If you ever get a chance to see “Young D” and “Yung Trybez” GO!

With the park full and the crowd pumped up by “SNRK”, it was time for Hamilton’s own high energy rock band Monster Truck to take the stage.  This was the first time in over five years that the band has had the opportunity to play in front of the home crowd and they started their set with the hit “Don’t Tell Me How To Live” followed by “Old Train” and the entire park went crazy.  They played for over an hour playing hit after hit while including some new songs like “Golden Woman” from their upcoming new album.  Monster Truck always puts on a great rock show.

It was good to be back in the pit again.  Thank you Festival of Friends – see you next year.







Carey Langsner