Summer Fun Fest is a free event bringing students to the stage to showcase their musical talents on June 21, 2018.
Innovations Music created this event as an opportunity for young musicians to experience performing live and showcase their talent. Organizers Tayler Button and Philippe Dupuis initially intended for the event to host a few student bands, but now it will feature over 20 bands performing on the summer solstice.
Students as far as Camrose are travelling to participate in the event. While this is the first year that Innovations Music has held the Summer Fun Fest concert, the idea has been there for many years, through overnight camps the school has offered.
“It’s about inclusion more than anything,” said Button.
This new iteration allows all kids to participate, without the financial pressure overnight camps can sometimes bring. Their goal is to make it accessible for all their students.
Events like this can provide kids with an outlet to express themselves.
“A lot of the kids we have here that are really good, are some of the ones that are the shyest, or don’t think they’re good,” said Dupuis, “those kids, now that they’re playing with a band, [are] the same ones who [are] headbanging — they’re throwing their guitar around and like really going for it”.
Jon Hofmann, guitar teacher of 14 years, and member of the Edmonton music scene, said he’s been able to get his students “to a point where they’re playing songs comfortably through, but [he’s] never had the opportunity to take them to that next step [of playing with others in a band].”
Hofmann recognizes the importance of students playing in bands after seeing past pupils stop playing after finishing lessons.
“I know that if we could’ve [gotten] them into a band, they might have continued on and experienced some things that could either change their life, or give them everlasting memories,” said Hofmann.
Hofmann also believes that by starting kids in bands young, it will create more demand for local music in the city by the time they are adults.
“Right now in Edmonton, it really sucks because we’re losing venues, because there’s not enough [bands] in the scene to support it,” said Hofmann.
By introducing kids to playing in bands, and to the Edmonton music community at a younger age, it will solidify that sense of community, and “just make the whole Edmonton music scene that much stronger”, said Hofmann.
The event takes place June 21, 2018 from 3pm to 11pm at 2804 Calgary Trail and includes food trucks and games alongside the student bands.
– Nikita Eleniak