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You are home at Home County

Photo of an audience sitting on a lawn at Home County
Image Credit: Darin Addison (Courtesy of Home County Music & Art Festival)

Home County Music & Art Festival will be celebrating its 48th season from July 14 to 16, in Victoria Park. The festival hosts music, art, food, and community.

Home County is dedicated to the culture of community, especially the London and surrounding areas. The H.O.M.E. in Home County is an acronym for Huron, Oxford, Middlesex, and Elgin, the four counties surrounding the city of London.

“For the first 38 years of the festival, it was called Home County Folk Festival and the name was changed to Home County Music & Art Festival in 2012,” Darin Addison, Home County artistic director said.

The festival, Addison said, celebrates diversity and community which is reflected in both its performers and vendors.

“Everybody is welcome at Home County Festival,” he added. “We rely on all different sorts of income to keep the festival running. We get grants from the City of London, Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council, London Community Foundation, Canadian heritage and we have a couple sponsors but not a whole lot, so we rather rely on donations and people coming into the park during the weekend.”

“We put four different artists on stage together and they started playing…it’s more of a songwriter circle.”

What makes Home County stand out amongst the many festivals that take place in the summer is its dedication to community and culture.

“We’re still a sort of a folk roots festival at the heart of it, but you know, folk music has evolved over the last 50 years. I think the way forward is to still want to honour the traditions of the history of Home County with traditional folk music but we’re trying to make it a little more art contemporary, bringing in younger audiences.”

Home County has an organic feel to it, from its home-grown musicians and arts and crafts vendors to its many food options. According to Addison, the “folk” aspect of the festival is key.

“There’s a lot more difference in the song writing of folk music than other contemporary pop music. There is a lot of storytelling going on in folk music, it’s organic…they’re using more traditional instruments like violin, accordion, or banjo.”

The community aspect of the festival is also highlighted through some of the popular workshops the festival hosts.

“We put four different artists on stage together and they started playing…it’s more of a songwriter circle. Sometimes full bands or sometimes just solo artists take turns playing a song trying to tie it back to the theme of the workshop, they will also just play together which contributes to the organic feel.”

This year’s festival will be considered a “return to normal” after two years of COVID?19 restrictions.

“We’re still in a pandemic, but we’re sort of coming out of the COVID shutdown, 2022 was kind of a practice run, we didn’t have as many vendors, and we rely on our food vendors and craft vendors because they paid to be there at the park and so they’re all big part of our revenue,” Addison said. “We have a lot of the vendors already signing up again for this year and coming back.”

Addison is also very excited that 75 per cent of the festival’s musical acts are already booked, and he is just waiting on confirmation for the rest. The Home County Music & Art Festival is something the community is at the centre of, it’s where stories are told and a place to feel like you can contribute to its co-creative lineage. You are home at Home County.