Boyle McCauley News

Since 1979 • February-March 2024 • Circulation 5000

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HOTC Releases Anniversary CD

Beating Strong - CD cover art by Aynsley Nisbet.

Ten years ago, some musicians and volunteers from the Bissell Centre and from other parts of Edmonton’s urban core banded together to start a beautiful movement. Coffeehouses and open mic nights to celebrate the diversity of creative types from the inner city. A CD called Patchworks that brought together artists who hadn’t been published before. And, a cozy, day-long, free festival in the small soccer field out behind McCauley Apartments that gave local, independent talent a shot at performing on professional stages set up by Edmonton Folk Fest.

Today, this beautiful movement is still beating strong. Heart of the City Festival has grown into a two day, family friendly, and still free festival that has presented hundreds of emerging artists from neighbourhoods in the downtown core. For its tenth anniversary, Heart of the City has helped to revive the McCauley coffeehouse scene in partnership with E4C, and has curated Beating Strong, a CD compilation in partnership with CJSR and the Bissell Centre.

The idea came together when Sarah Edwards at CJSR offered the volunteer driven radio station’s studio and production team to record musicians Heart of the City had recently been working with. I invited artists who’d been playing our coffeehouses in 2012 at Pacific Café to record at CJSR, and the festival team also issued a call for submissions in early 2013. The result is 20 tracks of local indie goodness, a musical snapshot of the inner city, and the truly talented folks who make this movement special. This CD, just like Heart of the City Festival, is 100% free, and it will be distributed at the festival on June 1 and 2; around the community in coffee, music, and book shops; and, at campus radio stations across Canada.

There are so many people I want to thank for making this CD happen. It has been a labour of love that represents the best our city has to offer. To all the musicians and producers who participated in this exciting project, so glad we made it happen! To Aynsley Nisbet, the artist whose painting is immortalized on the folding CD artwork, you definitely captured the vibe of the festival in a vibrant spectrum of colour. To agencies like Bissell Centre, E4C, the Brain Injury Centre, Action for Healthy Communities, and Boyle McCauley News, all who helped plant the seeds that grew the Heart of the City. To the many astounding volunteers who drive the festival each year, you are what makes the magic happen. And to our 2013 board, all who exemplify positive community living and creative direction, all your super hard work is oh so appreciated.

I would also like to dedicate this CD to our biggest champion, the late and truly great Don Snider. From day one Don knew we were cultivating something exceptional. As our main man over at the Folk Fest, he gave us our festival infrastructure, sound advice in times of need, and our nickname “little sister,” referring to our elder family over at Edmonton Folk Music Festival.

Don knew better than anyone the power of sharing and caring, which are values we hold strong to. Thank you Don for all the great memories. We know you can hear this in the next world.

David is the Co-Chair of the Heart of the City Festival Society.

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