This year’s Livestock Niagara festival may carry a slightly heavy tone for some who’ve grown fond of the annual event that takes over Taps Brewery and a portion of Queen Street in Niagara Falls for three days in September.
Event organizer Rafik Guirguis said it’s possible this one could be “his last hurrah.”
It won’t affect the level of rock that goes on though — with headliners like My Son The Hurricane, LMT Connection and Road Waves leading more than 30 bands, this year is sure to be memorable.
The three days will also feature 20 artisan vendors (a continuation of Market Niagara), 10 visual artists, health and wellness programs and local craft beer.
“It might not be the last festival I do, it just might the last for this incarnation of it,” Guirguis said.
“I don’t know,” he said, “It’s part of a five-year plan and this is the fourth year … so if it goes according to how everything is planned out, then yeah we’ll keep going with it, but if for whatever reason it doesn’t pan out, we’ll adjust it and move forward with it,” he said.
Some changes to this year’s festival include getting rid of the indoor stage, which Guirguis said hasn’t receive as much attention in previous years, as well as this being the first time the festival has a ticketed cost.
This year the event will charge a $10 entrance fee, or $25 for a weekend pass to help cover costs of hiring bands and getting the show put together. Children under 12 years old are free.
Part of the reason, Guirguis said, is that he didn't apply for a grant from the city this year, as he feels the festival is “ready to stand on its own two feet,” and because “the idea behind the Cultural Development Fund is to create programs that are self-sustaining.”
A major struggle for the event this year was the death of one of the show’s organizers, Jordon Rutledge, who was a “huge part” of running Livestock, Guirguis said.
“He helped me brainstorm a lot of it, he did the production inside, he managed the bands. That was always his domain and I don’t really know how to go forward without him.”
On the Sunday of the festival, Rutledge’s band Knife the Wolf will play a set dedicated to his memory.
“It’s been crazy,” Guirguis said. “A lot of adjustments.”
The artisan market is also another one of Gurguis’ projects, which runs until September and will finish the weekend of the festival.
Taps is a sponsor of Livestock and strong supporters of Niagara's local arts and music.
Tickets are available at, www.livestockniagara.com
What: Livestock Niagara 2018
When: Friday, Saturday and Sunday (Sept. 7 to 9)
Where: Taps Brewery, 4680 Queen St., Niagara Falls