KOI perseveres through bad weather


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From Sept. 19-21, Kitchener got loud.
KOI Music Festival, which just entered its fifth year of operation, took over King Street from Ontario to Frederick Street. From its humble start in 2010, the festival has grown in size, from the amount of bands participating to this year’s addition of an extra day of programming.

With each day of the festival, KOI offered its participants different options to enjoy.


Starting with a free night of programming to get the festival rolling, the evening was a strong start for the music to come. The main stage — which was in the Crabby Joe’s parking lot in downtown Kitchener — hosted hundreds of fans looking to enjoy the musical offerings of the evening.
Most of the artists who took the stage, including headliners Danko Jones, were either from the Toronto-area or surrounding vicinity. While the evening was cold, the bands were still able to keep things warm.

Cambridge-based Trouble and Daughter showed the sort of perseverance needed to perform through the chilly evening. With their warm, acoustic-driven set, they managed keep patrons positive despite the temperature.

Teenage Kicks proved to be one of the evening’s highlights. Once the Toronto-based band got on stage, they took little time to captivate their audience with their hard rocking music. The half-hour they were on stage, they proved to be a band to keep an eye on, through their on-stage presence and precise musicianship.

When Danko Jones took the stage, they showed that more than a decade of being a band has taught them a lot. Their ability to command the stage, paired with the high-octane rock music they delivered, showcased the level of professionalism they have accomplished throughout their career.


Sept. 20 at KOI was the busiest day of the festival. Besides the musical acts booked, KOI Con and the KOI food truck festival were also positioned along King Street. With all that was going on, there was plenty to do besides listening to music.
New this year, the KOI Food Truck Festival offered patrons a variety of mobile food options, with an acoustic stage set up at Ontario and King Street.

The variety of food options and availability of live music, accompanied by the warm weather, attracted many patrons to the street.

The music was scattered across Kitchener, spanning six venues across the downtown area. From the main stage to Wax Nightclub and Bobby O’Brien’s, each venue offered audiences different live performances to enjoy.

Toronto-based band Die Mannequin took the main stage by storm early in the afternoon. From start to finish, their set captivated the crowd and got them jumping. Playing new and old material, the intensity through their half-hour set captivated the audience.

By far one of the most memorable sets of the day was Foxy Shazam. With groovy beats and outrageous stage antics that involved their guitarist climbing the rafters, Foxy Shazam truly dominated the stage. Between the dancing, tight musicianship and crazy stage banter, they were certainly a band not to miss out on.

However, the day wasn’t without its setbacks. With warnings of severe thunderstorms, organizers changed sets around to ensure the safety of musicians and concertgoers. Festival headliners Every time I Die, originally slated to play the main stage, was moved indoors to the Wax in preparation of the forecast.

While the Wax had a significantly smaller capacity than the main stage, Every Time I Die still managed to put on an enjoyable performance. The venue was packed full of fans who went crazy when the band took the stage. Crowd surfing and mosh pits aside, the craziness hit a climax when fans and the band started climbing the rafters and diving into the audience.


Although the festival was slowly reaching its end, Sunday still proved to play host to many great performances. With acts such as Silverstein, Courage My Love and The Front Bottoms, many fans came out to enjoy the music.

Once again afflicted by threats of severe weather, KOI tried to work around the predicament by rescheduling to ensure all bands were finished playing outside a full two hours ahead of the original schedule. While met by much disapproval by fans, many still showed their support.

Closing the festival, Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker made sure it ended off with a bang. Getting the crowd bouncing, USS had strong control of the stage and the crowd. Even with the heavy rainfall that happened halfway through their set, fans stuck around to show their support and love for the music.

With the programming of all three days ending on a high note, KOI proved that it knows how to organize a music festival. With the weather causing concerns over the safety of patrons, last minute changes to set times and venues upset some people from the lack of notice. Overall, KOI still managed to make people wonder what might be in store for next year.







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