During the pandemic, music festivals across the province have all but stopped at their boot-scooting tracks, including the annual Magna Hoedown, a country music charity concert held in Aurora.
It’s time to dust off your cowboy boots because the show – despite being a new show – must go on.
“Georgina has been warned,” said longtime music event promoter Forrest Jones.
The Festival Live Laugh Love is September 30-October 2 at the Briars Hotel Resort and Spa, featuring Canadian country legends Jason McCoy, Gord Bamford and Jason Blaine plus an exclusive Rosewood and Kansas Stone VIP concert featuring Dustin Bird.
“There’s an appetite,” Jones of Forrest Jones Entertainment said. “There are still reservations. But people want out.
Culture, which encompasses everything from books and music to performing arts and spectator sports, is an economic driver and accounts for about 3 per cent of provincial GDP, according to Statistics Canada’s latest indicators survey.
In 2019, live performances, both musical and theatrical, contributed approximately $1.02 billion to the provincial economy and festivals contributed approximately $48 million, a five-year high for both sectors.
And that trickles down to the local economy through jobs and local spending.
“By attracting people to our area with exciting events, they will be inspired to explore and experience all of the unique and wonderful sites, attractions and experiences found here in Georgina,” said Mandy Morrison, Director of sales at the Briars.
The past two years have been challenging for many in the events and hospitality industry, she added.
“Our entire existence is based on welcoming guests to our property and hosting special events, gatherings and celebrations,” Morrison said. “The resort is buzzing with excitement and (we) can’t wait to see Briars Resort come back to life with happy guests and great music.”
The Live Laugh Love Festival is an exclusive takeover of The Briars, located on the lawn of the historic resort with views of Lake Simcoe.
There are a limited number of tickets for the Live Laugh Love festival.
“It’s the opposite of Boots and Hearts,” Jones said of one of Canada’s biggest country music festivals. “I love Boots and Hearts for the event it is.
“It’s reduced, closer, more intimate.”
The three-day outdoor country music festival features a collection of more than two dozen rising stars and well-known country favorites, including Idol winner Georgina and Hoedown Showdown King Mac Shepherd; Aaron Allen, Country Music Association Ontario Male Artist of the Year; and award-winning singer/songwriter Beverley Mahood.
Patrons are encouraged to bring a blanket or lawn chair and find a patch of grass to settle in and enjoy the show.
There will also be a local vendors market, beer garden and food trucks on site.
The festival is not just about the music, but the full range of behind-the-scenes help, from using Georgina’s ice hockey players as parking lot attendants to the festival’s souvenir book proceeds supporting local community groups.
“You can’t walk into a community and just take it,” Jones said.
Tickets for Live Laugh Love are now on sale at forrestjonesentertainment.com. The price includes one-day, three-day and VIP ticket options.
Not only is there a return to the big stage, but also a return of music to the local streets.
After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the Music in the Streets festival returns on June 25.
The event features a collection of musicians of all ages and from all over Georgina performing on the grounds of the Civic Center.
“It’s a true celebration of music in our community,” said Paul Connors, longtime owner of Connors Music and festival coordinator.
And this year marks an important return.
“The return of Music in the Streets, along with other community events, means the reopening of our communities and (creates) the opportunity to celebrate together, whether it’s their music, their art or the farmers market,” said said Connors.
For more information, visit Street Music Festival on Facebook.
STORY BEHIND THE STORY: The summer music scene comes alive. Journalist Amanda Persico explained how important music festivals are to the Georgina community.
EDITOR’S NOTE: June 6, 2022 – This story has been updated from a previous version to include the new location of the Music in the Streets festival, which takes place on the grounds of the Civic Center.