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Supporting local music and art at this year's Bumaroo Festival

The festival will span one afternoon on Sept. 26
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For the last two years, Guelph music and arts collective Bumaroo has staged a music festival out of its Northumberland Street headquarters. This year due to the pandemic and the restriction on crowds that come with it, the festival will be staged virtually.

“The last two years we have done our festival, we have done it out of one location, which we will be doing this year as well. It will be live streamed from our HQ here in town,” said Bumaroo co-founder James Florio.

This year, the festival will be free to stream and span one afternoon, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sept. 26.

The music line up for the 2020 version of the festival will include: Basement Revolver, Kitzl, Sea of Troubles, as well as Miss Mae and the Mob.

Florio said live music, even if staged virtually, is good for both the artist and the music lovers.

“For the most part these people work by gig or by freelance and there hasn’t been a lot of support. Second of all is just giving back to the Guelph community by having some of these things going on, whether it’s just for individual morale or the general bolstering of the arts community in Guelph,” said Florio.

He said the idea of the arts in Guelph diminishing over time due to the pandemic is not one he wants to see become reality.

“Whatever we can do to bring this to people's homes so they can still have access to different kinds of art and music and things like that, is great.”

In addition to the live music being streamed, the virtual music festival will include live art collaborations by local artists and workshops by Otherwise Studios and Emma Ongman.

“We are going to have a host — so it’s going to be a bit more like a television program than a more conventional festival, but that’s just us trying to adapt to everything that is going on and to do something for the community,” said Florio.

Although Bumaroo has applied for grant funding and other supports, this year’s festival is so far being self-funded.

“We have applied for several different funding sources, so far we are still doing everything out of pocket and through the support of some local business sponsors,” said Florio. 

Despite the lack of grants available so far, Florio noted all artists featured during the festival are being paid.

“I think the number one reason is to support the creatives and artists who work within those mediums — there hasn’t been a lot of support for them,” said Florio.