April 13, 2024

When walking through the stretch of road nestled between Union Boulevard and Glasgow Street, many different things can be seen. A quiet reflection of small town main streets, a bustling port of many businesses new and old, or even just the closest place to buy pet food for people living nearby.

Tim Moher, saxophone player and band-leader of Celtic-Jazz group called Clefs Of Moher saw an opportunity to connect with the community, and create a more diverse setting for live music.

“ As I went up and down the road here, I was basically thinking this is a venue that needs attention, needs music and arts, because it has that potential. And I just tapped into that.” Tim said in an interview. “I love the small village feel.”

Since starting in 2017, Bestival has seen a lot of changes from year-to-year. One of those changes also happens to be one of Tim’s main reasons for wanting to start the event in the first place.

“I was frustrated as a musician that certain festivals would have the same musicians over and over, so one of the mandates of Bestival is to be inclusive and diverse, but also dig into the talent bank we have in Waterloo region.” Tim said about the changing line-ups for every year.

Along with the ever-changing line-up of artists, the number of stages multiplied over the years. While this year saw 5 total stages throughout the event in areas all around Belmont village, a two-stage approach has always been important.

“Logistics. While one’s setting up, the others are playing. You don’t have much down time (between musical performances) , maybe a couple minutes.” said Jan, one of many volunteers at the event.

But Music wasn’t the only thing that brought what Tim estimates was around ten thousand people to the event throughout the day. 40 visual artists, more than 40 vendors along the street, many craft-workshops and more kid-centric happenings as well, Tim and everyone else involved made sure to make Bestival have a little something for everyone.

“Everyone” truly becomes the most important factor, as Tim addressed that in post-COVID times people may still be a little nervous about public events, but an event like Bestival makes a good option for people feeling like that too.

“People are yearning to connect in a new way. And something like a street festival allows for that. You’re not within a confined space, you’re out on the street, you can keep your distance but you can still be with people, and that’s a win-win.”

Tim plans to move away from being the primary planner of the Bestival in coming years, but hopes to still stay on to help where he can. He also adds that Bestival is always looking for volunteers, and anyone who wants to help be part of the event next year can sign up through their website, www.belmontvillagebestival.com.


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