Hamilton’s Festival of Friends returns after two-years with three days of free tunes


Published July 29, 2022 at 9:39 pm

Festival of Friends unveils full schedule for 3-day Gage Park Hamilton event
The Festival of Friends is making a triumphant return to its traditional three-day format at Gage Park in Hamilton. This year's schedule has been finalized. (@festoffriends Instagram photo)

Friends are finally back together this weekend for the Hamilton Festival of Friends, a three-day music fest featuring some of Hamilton’s own acts.

The festival has been on hiatus for the last two-years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and is set to return this long weekend bigger than ever.

This year the Festival is set to have 30 per cent more vendors than the last show and claims to be the second largest show in Ontario, behind only the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto.

The festival kicked off Friday evening with a performance headlined by Toronto-orn Serena Ryder. Since her 1999 debut album Falling Out, Ryder has released an additional seven records. She’s perhaps best known for her 2012 hit “What I Wouldn’t Do,” her biggest chart hit to date.

Saturday is set for a harder rock show when Hamilton’s own Monster Truck takes the stage. The trio has put out three records since 2013, reaching their biggest successes with “Sweet Mountain River” and “Don’t Tell Me How to Live.” Their triumphant return the the festival marks their first home town concert in four years.

The next evening is set to feature the festival’s traditional country show with two of Canada’s biggest acts. George Canyon, the prolific country star behind 11 records and 33 singles, and Gord Bamford, among the most awarded country musicians, take the stage Sunday night.

Each of the above listed act have been honoured with numerous awards for their work including Junos for for them all.

One day of the festival will also be used to highlight Indigenous performers and vendors. Two dozen Indigenous crafters and vendors are coming to the show, which has offered their booths for free.

The Festival of Friends has been held since 1976, becoming a Hamilton cultural touchstone. Some of the biggest musicians in the country have played there in the years since it’s founding such as Randy Bachman, Burt Cummings, Gord Downie, and many others have played there.



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