Hockeyfest brings big bands to Brantford

Brantford’s largest music festival, Hockeyfest, took place at Lion’s Park in early June, boasting an incredible three-day concert lineup filled with big name bands, screaming fans, and all the booze one could handle.

“Well it’s two weeks later and I’m still recovering, so that’s a good sign!” says Ralph Spoltore, Hockeyfest’s organizer.

A strong lineup of country bands took the stage on day one, including local stars Dry County, building the crowd up for the night’s headliner, Martina McBride. While the country fans showed their excitement by chugging beer and shaking their daisy dukes, it wasn’t until the next day that the crowd really went wild.

During day two’s “Rock” theme, big name bands like The Trews, Finger Eleven and Three Days Grace took the stage, causing fans to go insane by constantly crowdsurfing and moshing.

“I’m just happy something is finally coming to Brantford that’s worthwhile!” said concert goer, Kathy Greenwood, during Finger Eleven’s performance. “We’ve got so much to offer but no one knows about us.”

The feeling that Brantford’s music scene is somewhat invisible and at times ignored is a belief that Ralph Spoltore once shared with his grateful Hockeyfest attendees.

“Brantford has been looking for something for a long time to call their own, and they can do that with Hockeyfest,” says Spoltore. “People in Brantford can take great pride in having this awesome music festival right in their own backyard.”

But it wasn’t just the people of Brantford that were thrilled about the incredible lineup of bands throughout the three day festival.

“The feedback we’ve gotten from every band that played on our stage is tremendous,” says Spoltore. “Playing Hockeyfest was something they really enjoyed!”

As for the student population of Wilfrid Laurier University, Spoltore, a graduate of Laurier himself, promises that he hasn’t forgotten about them. “We’re definitely going to be bringing big bands to Brantford for the students of Wilfrid Laurier. And we’ll be doing it throughout the year!”

With this summer’s Hockeyfest already under his belt, Spoltore remains optimistic about topping the event next year, although it’ll be no easy feat. “You’re only as good as your last festival,” Spoltore says. “And I’m going to do my very best to keep it as fresh as possible.”

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