London’s Hiroshima Hearts are among the acts performing at the annual Good Vibes Only Festival on at The Woodfield event space on Queens Avenue, also featuring Friday’s headlines Toronto’s The Soul Motivators and Saturday’s headliners Mob Barley and The Railers.
It’s where dreams begin, experience is built and talent is displayed.
The Western Fair is showcasing some of the region’s up-and-coming talents on two stages: the I Love Local Tent, where 28 musical acts hit the stage Friday through Sept. 15, and the Rise to Fame talent competition Friday through Sunday with the finals Sept. 15 on the Anne Eadie Park Stage.
The I Love Local stage near the Rectory Street gate is where fair-goers can enjoy food, a beer (including some local craft beers) and music.
“We’ve been doing the I Love Local celebration for a number of years now,” said Heather Blackwell, the fair’s general manager.
“We wanted to provide experiences to showcase local talent, where we pair it with local food and drinks and visitors can go. Especially after the fair, they can sit down and sample some high-end food in a really fun atmosphere, take in the music, enjoy the food and take a break from everything that’s going on.”
The fair has also reintroduced concerts to the grandstand, featuring headliners The Trews (Tuesday), Marianas Trench (Wednesday) and Trooper and Platinum Blonde (Thursday
The local talent includes many emerging stars and several well-established, award-winning acts, such as Carly Thomas Band, Delta Stone & The War Dogs, Ben Heffernan, The Pairs, Hiroshima Hearts, Sarina Haggarty, Saveria and After The Lounge. They perform in several genres,
The I Love Local lineup includes:
Friday: Country Roads at 5 p.m. and Jason Mercer at 8 p.m. Saturday: Ben Heffernan (11:30 a.m.), The Pairs (2 p.m.), Jordan MacDonald (5 p.m.) and Swagger (8 p.m.) Sunday: Jim MacDonald (11:30 a.m.), Karen Emeny (2 p.m.), Charlie Webber (5 p.m.) and Twin-Fin (8 p.m.) Monday: Fun Fact (5 p.m.) and Snakebite (8 p.m.) Tuesday: Chad Price (5 p.m.) and Loveless (8 p.m.); Wednesday: Nameless Friends (5 p.m.) and Hiroshima Hearts (8 p.m.) Sept. 12: Averages (5 p.m.) and Basic White (8 p.m.); Sept. 13: Carly Thomas Band (5 p.m.) and Delta Stone & The War Dogs (7:30 p.m.); Sept. 14: Justine Chantelle (11:30 a.m.), Sarina Haggarty (2 p.m.), Graham Bedard (5 p.m.) and Melissa Megan 7:30 p.m. Sept. 15: Dangerfields (11:30 a.m.), Saveria (2 p.m.) Hunger City (5 p.m.) and After the Lounge (7:30 p.m.).
Saveria is one of the more intriguing performers in the lineup. She appeared on CTV’s The Launch, a reality television series that profiles five emerging artists competing for a chance to record that week’s song for public release, with a recording of Down to the Roots, which she performed for the first time on the show and won.
“It (The Launch) definitely uplifted my audience and I have so many more fans now because it’s promoted me across Canada,” said the 22-year-old singer-songwriter, whose full name is Saveria D’Ippolito.
“I feel really lucky to be considered a professional Canadian artist now. That experience has definitely brought me to bigger stages.”
It’s been a busy summer for Saveria, who has performed at a major Quebec City festival and at the Cavendish Beach Music Festival in Prince Edward Island in July.
She said she’s looking forward to performing at Western Fair and praised organizers for focusing on local talent.
“It’s really cool to finally get to do something like this in my home town,” said Saveria. “Western Fair is a big event for London.”
The Rise to Fame competition draws performers, including vocal, instrumental, dance, and variety, who have competed at preliminary rounds from across the province in two categories — youth from the ages of 13 to 21 years and junior from six to 12.
The youth semifinals will be held Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 7 p.m. on the Anne Eadie Park Stage behind the Western Fair Farmers’ Market, while the junior semifinals will be held Sunday at noon and 3 p.m. on the same stage. On Sept. 15, the junior final will be at 1 p.m. followed by the youth final at 7 p.m.
“We’ve really committed to the local talent,” said Blackwell. “The Rise to Fame competition is to help develop that grassroots talent.”
IF YOU GO
What: Western Fair
Where: Western Fair District, 316 Rectory St.
When: Friday to Sept. 15
Tickets: In advance until Thursday, general (ages 11-59) $10, seniors $10, children five to 10 $4, super pass (admission and all-day rides) $40. At the gate, general $15, seniors and children $10, children five to 10 $5. Free for children four and younger. For more information on ticket packages, ride tickets and concerts, go to westernfairdistrict.com, or call 519-438-7203 for in-person ticket locations.