For several years a few people on Duke St. West have been thinking about organizing a music event in our ‘hood. The Duke Street Playground seemed like a logical place because it has play equipment for kids and many green spaces for playing and several trees for shade. In fact, many people call it the “Duke Street Park” because it is so lush and green for most of the summer. There are several “Porch Parties” in Kitchener and Waterloo that show people love to play and share music. We decided the playground would have just one stage which made it easier to organize.
A small committee (Emily, Eli and Ted) was formed from the Mt. Hope – Breithaupt Park Neighbourhood Association to organize the event we would call the “Duke St. West Music Fest” (DSWMF). We decided on Saturday, June 23 as the date and started preparations a few months before by talking with the “Love my Hood” folks. We applied for a City of Kitchener grant to cover the Porta-potty rental, food and modest honorariums for the performers. Filling out this long form was the first test of our “team work” and after a few weeks we learned we had been approved!
We advertised on social media and our newsletter for musicians within our MHBPNA boundaries and received enough responses to fill the three hours! Our cool poster can be viewed here.
The day of the event we were threatened by rain and potential thunderstorms. We had to make a big decision about cancelling or continuing knowing that we might have to abandon the event if the thunderstorms materialized. Much time was spent on weather apps and websites!
We had several tents loaned to us by Extend-A-Family and neighbours. So we decided to go ahead, but then were informed by the city that we could not use power! This threw a wrench into things, but we agreed to go “acoustic” and moved the stage area to the front of the playground. The new location made it very inviting for people walking past to hear the music.
Ultimately some rain did fall but very little affected the performances and we were very happy. At one point I counted about 60 people listening to the music, talking quietly in the background, playing on swings and other equipment and generally walking around and enjoying the atmosphere. If you include all the people who came through, staying for different lengths of time, and those close by listening on their porches, we estimate around 130 people attended! We ordered two deliveries from the good folks at Planet Pizza on Breithaupt Street and they were will received by everyone.
We were very happy with the attendance and enthusiasm of everyone. It makes us excited to try it again next year. As Eli said “next year we will have sun and sound!”