It was June of 2007 on a beautiful Saturday morning. I was in Giovanni Caboto Park. I had hardly slept the night before. My heart started beating faster while my mouth grew dry. When I heard my name called, I climbed onto the stage and took my place as part of a songwriter’s circle.
This was my first time performing at Heart of the City. In fact, it was my first time performing in a concert setting. My previous performance experience mostly included family and friends.
Playing some music at Heart of the City has become a yearly tradition for me. It is a privilege to say I have taken part in the same festival as other Edmonton musicians who have gone on to make names for themselves in the local music scene, like Boogie Patrol and Rebecca Lappa (who also still appears at HOTC).
I will never forget how nervous I was that first time. Since then, I have played at many rallies and events for various causes. I have even opened twice for Bill Bourne (a Juno-award winning musician and former resident of McCauley): once at Studio 96 and another time at The Carrot on 118 Avenue.
Heart of the City has given many emerging inner city visual, musical, and spoken word artists a venue and valuable experience. It is a local treasure that I have always wished got more media attention. Not only does it present a diverse program of sights and sounds, but it is a positive, volunteer-driven, family-oriented, free festival. It’s the perfect example of how the arts can create community.