Like the fortuitous Reese’s combo of chocolate and peanut butter, the sounds of the Our World Festival of Music will be joined by the food trucks of the King StrEATery for a Saturday of family-friendly events at the civic square outside of Kitchener city hall.
The partnership between Our World, now in its 13th year, and the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Waterloo Region will see the festival’s usual evening assortment of live music start earlier in the afternoon in conjunction with the agency’s food trucks and kids’ activities.
“As a charitable organization, I’m always looking for opportunities to partner with other non-profit community groups. This is a really good fit,” says artistic director Lawrence McNaught of the joint venture.
“It’s a full day of live music. On our end, we’ll be running all kinds of children’s events,” adds Mallory Boyer of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Waterloo Region.
Headlined by Juno-Award winner QuiQue Escamilla, the free slate of live music gets underway at 3:30, a half-day earlier than the usual kickoff time for Our World. The focus on local and national acts remains, however, McNaught notes.
Things get rolling at 3:30 with Tea For Two, a duo that features smooth vocals and engaging acoustic versions of popular songs, to be followed by veteran local musician Glen Soulis & Friends at 4:30.
Next up is Jessie T., who McNaught describes as one of the region’s finest emerging singer-songwriters, showcasing captivating vocals and rhythmic guitar in some great original songs.
At 6:30, it’s alt-rock favourites Safe As Houses, known for their beautiful songs, poetic lyrics, and lush instrumentation – intricate, catchy pop music reminiscent of Mumford and Sons. Their mature songwriting is complemented by haunting five-part harmonies. At 7:30, the Barn Katz take to the stage, offering up “real deal bluegrass” in presenting original Kentucky sounds crafted right here in Ontario.
“They’re a legit Kentucky bluegrass band. They went over really well last year,” notes McNaught. “And, funnily enough, one of the group’s contacted by the King StrEATery folks was also here last year, Safe As Houses, who were definitely fan favourites.”
On McNaught’s radar for a few years now, a local favourite, Juneyt, will take to the Our World stage at 8:45 p.m.
Since his arrival from Turkey in 1999, Juneyt Yetkiner has become popular for his music, and also his support of many community-based organizations such Big Brothers Big Sisters of Waterloo Region. Known for his passionate playing, Juneyt is a 2017 Toronto Independent Music Awards winner.
A native of the southern state of Chiapas, Mexico, QuiQue Escamilla is also making his first appearance at the festival. Now Toronto-based, Escamilla is a multi-instrumental singer-songwriter described as a “modern-day troubadour.”
“I’ve been talking with QuiQue for a couple of years now. He’s been interested in playing Our World, but the schedules just didn’t work … until now,” notes McNaught. “He’s a Juno-award winner with a great little band.
“It’s a good, fun line-up.”
In the countdown to Saturday, both McNaught and Boyer are keeping a close eye on the weather forecast, which looked good as of midweek. Summery weather is just what the doctor ordered for an outdoor event.
The two also see a good fit for an ongoing partnership.
For Big Brothers Big Sisters of Waterloo Region, it’s a chance to expand the King StrEATery event, part of its efforts to do more with the community since moving to a downtown Kitchener location in 2016.
“Since being here, we’ve had an opportunity to work with the downtown businesses and the community,” says Boyer. “Everybody’s been so welcoming – there’s a real sense of community.”
For the King StrEATery portion, the organization is expecting 14 food trucks offering a variety of fare, from the traditional hotdogs and ice cream to pizza, jerk chicken and vegan food.
“We really have a whole array of foods.”
The joint Our World Festival of Music and King StrEATery activities run from 3:30 to 11 p.m. on Saturday (June 16) out front of Kitchener city hall, where King Street will be closed off to traffic.