Angelitos Paula E. Kirman
Steven Johnson Paula E. Kirman
Artist Mariam Qureshi Paula E. Kirman
The Beat spoken word stage. Paula E. Kirman
George Zhang and Isaac Friesen Paula E. Kirman
Chubby Cree Paula E. Kirman
Street Prints table. Paula E. Kirman
Cultural activities at the Intercultural Multilogues teepee. Paula E. Kirman
Mary Ranking brought hula hoops. Paula E. Kirman
Nolan Smits Paula E. Kirman
Volunteers are always an important part of the festival. Paula E. Kirman
Leif Gregersen with his books for sale in the artists’ tent - with help from his dad! Paula E. Kirman
Dancing got wild during the Give ‘Em Hell Boys. Paula E. Kirman
To the casual Heart of the City (HOTC) patron, our small festival might be a way to kill a couple of hours one weekend of the year. However, to so many of us, Heart of the City means so much more: the hours shared in planning and cultivating connections, organizing volunteers and artists, and supporting leadership qualities with new board members and student interns. All of this exists within our small tight-knit community, which functions as a connecting center to other areas of the city as well.
On Sunday, June 2, the last band of the weekend, Kane Incognito, finished their stellar set. As our President, Charity Slobod, came out to give her final closing address in that role, I felt a wave of energy. In my short amount of time with the festival, I am taken aback by how we come together to support each other continually. The volunteers make the event happen, and this year we witnessed their true leadership shine (thank-you)! Despite any challenges or festival highs and lows that arise, their work happens with a consistency I have yet to see anywhere else.
Yes, Heart of the City is a festival, but is also so much more. Participating in art, culture, and other entertainment is unifying. No matter who you are, or what you do, when something beautiful strikes your mind, you feel something. We were able to share a laugh at the stand-up comedy performances, especially with McCauley resident Dan Taylor, tailoring his material to discuss his neighbourhood. Our story slam was performed and loved by people from all walks of life with winner Liam Leroux taking the top prize. Our Intercultural Gathering teepee – hosted by two outstanding student interns, Kalii Stewart and Terrance Lam – brought diversity, inclusion, and equity into all its multifaceted workshops.
The festival takes great pride in its outstanding Main Stage line-up with performances of all genres showcased on the big Folk Fest stage. Emcee appearances from charismatic CTV personalities Stacey Brotzel and Bianca Millions further strengthened the shared media partnership between HOTC and our trusted local broadcasting network. In addition, Boyle McCauley News Editor Paula Kirman and Todd Crawshaw of the Rock and Roll Society of Edmonton, hosted the Main Stage with both poise and enthusiasm. We are so grateful for their involvement!
Musical acts like Josh Sahunta, RELLIK, Chubby Cree, Steven Johnson, Wendy Gregson & Renee McLachlan, Brother Octopus, Jet Power, and Brendon Greene once more played their hearts out on the stage they now find familiar. New HOTC musical additions took to the stage with magnetic energy and boundless enthusiasm, bringing the park attendees beats to remember. FKB in particular gave a stand-out performance with their magnetic movements on stage that many joked must have been choreographed. Hosting their very first show ever, A Sin & A Lie blew us away, and we’re certain we’ll be hearing plenty from them in the future.
Local artists sold their amazing wares to the community. To think many people purchased art now displayed in their homes as festival memories! In addition, members from the public had opportunities to create their own art through free workshops. We hope that some young minds learned that experimenting creatively is a most beautiful manner of expression.
I spoke to one young woman by the name of Mikayla Bortscher. She learned to play guitar from organizers of CreArt, and now at 22, was playing at the festival. The youth stage was an incredible success yet again. The festival inspires: it inspires the youth to create, and it inspires the community to showcase its talents. It is the artists and organizers we inspire today who will take the reins of community leadership in the future. They, like the artists today, equalize us, connect us, and will continue to inspire generations to come. Just like the ones who inspired us before.
Noah is the Marketing and Communications Manager with Heart of the City.