Downtown Sudbury was buzzing Thursday afternoon as Up Here 2018 officially got underway.
Construction crews are hard at work on Durham Street, setting up for the festival that will run from Aug. 17-19, and music rang out from a back alley behind the Red Fang Tavern following a press conference held inside the downtown restaurant.
Organizers Christian Pelletier and Jen McKerral welcomed a small group of partners and Mayor Brian Bigger inside of the Red Fang to kick off this year’s festival, the fourth edition of an arts, culture, and music celebration that has grown year after year.
“From the first year we’ve had incredible support from the community and that’s as much on the volunteer front as it is from local businesses pitching in,” said Pelletier. “(We’re) getting us thousands of dollars worth of equipment for free, paint, these are giant walls and we’ve got tons of people who are giving us a hand in making this happy. This was about acknowledging them and that this community is growing and there’s really cool things happening.”
There are more than 150 volunteers on staff to help ensure that the festival runs smoothly, and a number of partners who have stepped up in a variety of ways.
Sponsors include companies like RBC which is sponsoring the Northern Concert Series that highlights Northern Ontario artists; Barrydowne Paint which supplies all the paint for the murals that will be completed during Up Here 2018; and Greater Sudbury Utilities that has given the go-ahead for artists to paint hydro boxes around the city’s downtown through “Project Power Up”.
The Fortin Foundation is the presenting sponsor of Up Here 2018, and Tom Fortin was in attendance for Thursday’s launch.
“It’s our festivals, our cultural events, locally-grown entertainment and various local restaurants that really define who we are as a community,” said Fortin. “Up Here is one of my favourite festivals because it includes music, art and beer, three of my favourite things, and it leaves us with a legacy of public art every year.”
Up Here’s fourth edition will feature more than 50 concerts, and more than half of them will feature Northern Ontario artists.
Greater Sudbury mayor Brian Bigger (aka DJ Your Worship) attended the launch, speaking to council’s commitment to fostering a lively arts and culture community in the city, while supporting local artists.
“What you guys (at Up Here) are doing is simply amazing, everybody can feel the energy here in our community in anticipation,” said Bigger. “It’s about the arts, it’s about the music and I think it’s very important to Sudburians that this creates a stage for our local artists and musicians to get exposure on a much larger scale.”
Pelletier encouraged all those planning to attend this year’s festival to download the Up Here app which can be found in the App Store or Google Play to stay up to date with everything going on over the weekend and get inside information on surprise pop-up shows that will be happening throughout the course of the festival.
To show off the app’s value, Pelletier sent out a notification during the press conference about a special early start to the festival with a pop-up show in the alley behind the Red Fang, with Sudbury’s own White Hot performing as soon as the conference wrapped up.
You can follow along with everything happening at Up Here on their website uphere.com or by downloading the mobile app.