Poor attendence at Freshtival, music event for local talent

Photo by Will Huang
Photo by Will Huang

K-W, more than many other cities, engages with its residents through community events throughout the year. As a popular concert venue, Maxwell’s hosted it’s very first Freshtival, a daylong indie festival where artists and vendors gathered to celebrate community on August 27.

One of the artists featured was Wilfrid Laurier University’s very own Last Minute, a band composed of second-year music students Justin Smith, Braydon Kains, Zemar Hakim and James Baker. Having been together for just under a year, the band has been making waves in the city coming just short of a performance at KOI Fest.

The band was formed similar to how you’d imagine. A solo jam session in a residence dorm turned to a duo and then a trio and finally a quartet. Before they knew it, they were up on stage at Maxwell’s for the first time.

Reflecting on their progression, drummer Justin Smith said, “We’ve gotten accustomed to it now. The first time we went up was very nerve wracking.”

The band, although young, is very committed to their craft. “We have decided, if we absolutely need to, we will drop out of university and pursue this career,” said Smith.

Such conviction from a young band gives hope to creating another notable Laurier artist for years to come.

Booking studio time and recording original content at Studio A in Kitchener is where Smith says he’ll be taking on his next project.

“In late September [I’ll be going] to record my first solo album.”

Photo by Will Huang
Photo by Will Huang

While still being committed to the band, Smith says his focus is always on solely one project: depending on the availability of his Last Minute band mates.

Last Minute, ironically, was slotted to open Freshtival, which resulted in playing to a desolate crowd. Despite the poor turnout to the midday performance, the band were unbothered, playing through their seven song set with full emotion. From first listen, the band had something to offer to the Waterloo music scene and is taking advantage of their unique position.

Hopes were initially high, as Smith said, “I think its going to be a lot of fun for everyone, especially for the bands who’ve never played Maxwell’s before.”

Due to the lengthy program, its hard to expect a crowd to attend a festival for over ten hours.

Poor planning may have resulted in the band receiving the short end of the stick, however Last Minute made it work.

By the end of the set, it was easy to forget that they are budding second-year students and is only evident their detached aesthetic. Presenting a collective image goes a long way to package your craft nicely for the audience. Perhaps staying true to their name—this aesthetic was the perfect decision for the band.

This isn’t Smith’s first musical venture. “This is the first committed band I’ve been a part of. I’ve been a part of two other bands that didn’t really take off from Hamilton,” he said.

Learning from past experiences and yet having such drive is admirable; it’s a shame that this particular appearance had poor attendance. Expectations run high as Laurier students wait to see just how far they can take their music. The Laurier community should make it our goal to support all of our talent, for who knows—the next best thing could be right here, in our own backyard.

As for Freshtival, an event more closely timed in the future would help assure support for each artist.

Photo by Will Huang
Photo by Will Huang

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