By SARAH SHAW
The small city of Brantford knows a thing or two about hockey.
Being the birthplace of Wayne Gretzky and holding the Guinness World Record for the largest street hockey tournament are just a few of the credentials the city holds close to its heart. But this June, Brantford is combining the town’s beloved pastime with great music for the third annual Brantford Hockeyfest, a three-day event jammed packed with everything one would want in a summer music festival.
“From the start, our idea and our mandate has been to just basically throw a big party that is designed to celebrate three of our favourite things: the great game of hockey, great music with an emphasis on Canadian talent and the beautiful community of Brantford,” said Hockeyfest president, Tim Johnston.
And celebrate it does.
This year, the festival will feature performances by Weezer, Creed, Hedley, Theory of a Deadman, Puddle of Mudd, Marianas Trench, Sloan and Down with Webster amongst others from June 1 to 3 at the festival’s new venue, the Brant Conservation Area.
“We’re looking forward to seeing possibly 20,000-25,000 people visiting our park over the three nights of our weekend,” said Johnston. “We’ve actually moved our location from Lion’s Park in Brantford to Brant Conservation Area to accommodate what we expect will be a much larger crowd this year.”
While Hockeyfest is a relatively new festival, Johnston is pleased with the progress it’s made in the few years it has been up and running.
“We have tried to grow in a sustainable way and to keep bringing the type of talent that people want to see and to create a high quality, flagship event to an area of the province that we think has always been underserved in terms of the quality of entertainment it has been able to attract,” said Johnston. He added that the festival was named Festivals and Events Ontario’s “Best New Festival in Ontario” at their annual awards banquet in Niagara Falls.
“We’re creating memories here in Brantford. And if you don’t go, what you’re doing is you’re missing out on an institution. You’re missing out on an experience and you’re missing out on the people that will have that experience with you,” said Brantford Ward 1 Councillor Jan Vanderstelt in a promotional YouTube video for the event, adding that “the sound of Hockeyfest is second to none.”
For information including the weekend’s schedule, tickets, booking campsites and other event inquiries, visit brantfordhockeyfest.com.