KOI fest hoping for biggest year yet
September is going to be a busy time for music in Kitchener-Waterloo.
Going into its eleventh year, KOI Music Festival is one of the largest music festivals the region has to offer.
“It’s a celebration of independent music,” said Cory Crossman, one of the festival directors. “We focus on having a large percentage of local artists, but we also have national and international artists touring the festival.”
Cory started KOI with his brother 10 years ago as a means to bring music into Kitchener-Waterloo, since there wasn’t much happening in the area.
“Kurt, my brother and business partner, and myself have been presenting concerts officially for 10 years, but also before that. For us to see bands we wanted to see or to play concerts, we had to book them. So the idea was we got tired of a music festival not happening in our community so we decided to try and organize our own.”
Spanning from Sept. 19 to 21, the three days of the festival all have a different focus to them.
Because of all of the changes made to this year’s festival program, Crossman said the addition of another day was crucial.
“Friday is our sampler night, with Saturday more about underground and emerging artists and topping it off with Sunday having more a mainstream feel to it.”
Added to this year’s festival is also a local charity drive, a comic book reading, KOI Con, a conference educating on indie music and food trucks.
“What we have been the most excited for is our food truck festival. We will be shutting down Ontario Street in Kitchener and bringing in 10 food vendors for people to attend for free, with performers there as well.”
The organization of KOI also hasn’t gone without its share of problems.
“Yes there are always challenges. We work within the city core, which means supporting shops and following by-laws. But hosting free events, it’s difficult to secure sponsorship, as well as getting financial support for a small, independent music company as well.”
With all of the difficulties aside, Crossman still believes that KOI is one of the best events the region has to offer.
“It is the event of September. Especially if you are new to the community, it is going to give you the opportunity to find out about a number of awesome things that happen in Kitchener.”
“It really is the sort of event to welcome you to the community, find out what is cool and happening. It’s the place you want to be.”
Crossman also hopes this will be their biggest year yet.
“We are shooting for around 10,000 people in attendance and it looks like we are going to be that number too”.
“Sometimes when it’s in your own backyard, you forget how awesome some things are. So we really hope we can engage with the student body to come out.”