I have a great suggestion for a way to enjoy yourself and not spend a small fortune: Attend a local music festival.
I did just that over the weekend in Angus.
It was a music competition where singers, of all ages, performed tributes to various icons. I came away with a new appreciation for local talent and a renewed appreciation for small-town Ontario.
Throughout the summer and fall, we are privileged to live in a region that offers so many great festivals. But I will admit, with shame, that I don’t attend enough of them. Sometimes, we get blinded by the big-city lights and assume the only really good entertainment is far away from our hometowns.
The Angus Rock and Roll Festival was back after a COVID-19 hiatus of about four years, so it had the feel of a family reunion. Selfies, so many selfies!
Everyone was working together for the common good, which was to raise money for various local charities.
Most everyone was volunteering their time for the event and seemed to be doing so with great enthusiasm. It takes a village to put on any public event.
Sometimes I get very jaded thinking people only do things for a profit. This was all for charity.
There were dozens of teenagers helping out with odd jobs. Let me say it renewed my faith in young people. They were so polite and helpful. Very impressive!
As someone who attends a lot of events in larger venues, it was such a relief and joy to not have to worry about ticket-processing costs, traffic chaos, parking access, or being gouged for food and beverages on site. There have been times where the effort required just to get to an event is just not worth it.
And then came the entertainment.
There were 25 performers each offering tributes to the likes of Elvis, Roy Orbison, Garth Brooks, Gladys Knight, and Tina Turner.
It was a true pleasure to enjoy the older classic songs in a simple atmosphere. No fireworks required.
I looked around and saw so many sweet moments.
There was a wife filming her husband’s performance, mouthing every word along with him, offering reassurance. It was so sweet.
There were dozens of examples of people supporting each other, even though they were in competition, such as lending guitars and costumes.
Everyone, no matter what their talent level was, cheered and applauded to encourage other musicians to keep singing.
In recent years, I have wondered if there was any sense of community left. Some days all we see is anger, selfishness and negativity.
But on this particular weekend in Angus, I was reminded of how good it can feel to be part of something positive.
It remains true that it feels good to give of your time, talent and money.
There’s a joy in reconnecting with old friends and an excitement in making new connections. And I am still humming.
I came away renewed and it all occurred close to home.