On September 9th, Brantford will see a brand-new art and music event on the Grand River.  

“Day on the Grand” is a large artistic and musical festival taking place on and around the Grand River. The event will feature more than a dozen musical acts and over 20 visual artists, as well as an evening performance by aerial acrobats and stilt-walkers. The event, inspired in part by the Boston Pops’ Grand River performance in 1978, will have live music and art showings around various parts of the river. Guests can walk from one performance to the next in a loop around the area. 

The event takes place from noon until dark, and amplified music will begin at 5 PM. It is sponsored by Brantford Arts Block, the Ontario Arts Council, Enterprise Brant and more. 

“For students who are looking to grow, or experience things, or become involved – I think it’s important for the community to provide that,” said Gerry LaFleur, the Brantford Arts Block Chair. 

The event offers a unique experience with many unusual performances. Near the skate park, a brass quartet will be playing during the day. This idea came from a desire for an interesting culture clash between the skaters and those interested in the brass quartet. 

“Our idea is to bring two worlds together,” said LaFleur. “And to encourage people with different experiences and expectations to come together and share something that is surprising.” 

The brass players will play at the skate park and then disperse throughout the Grand River’s “venue” to share music in more places. Underneath the rail bridge, hip-hop dancers will be performing. On the sandbar nearby, there will be numerous acoustic performers, such as Missy Bauman and Austin Piggott. 

Visual art can be found on the Grand Valley Trail, and on both sides of the river. There will also be vendors, selling their art, and even selling vegetables. At 5 PM, amplified music will begin on the stage. 

“It creates a loop around the river for people to wander around and explore,” said LaFleur. 

The end of the day will have attendees viewing aerial acrobats, performing on the iron rail bridge, suspended from the beams. This was inspired by LaFleur’s work with a Cirque Du Soleil choreographer, and by his daily commute to work. 

“Every time I walked by this rusty old bridge, I thought, ‘Wow, that would be cool, to have acrobats perform right over the river,” said LaFleur. 

Alongside this performance will be stilt-walkers in costume. 

This event will join Brantford’s burgeoning art community as a new and unique festival that is sure to leave attendees buzzing. Incoming Laurier Brantford students will be in for a treat during their first week in Brantford with this live event. 

Guests can expect free parking at the Parkade and the Civic Centre. More information can be found on the Brantford Arts Block’s Facebook page.