KOI Music Festival Rocks Kitchener and Surrounding Area

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


Written by Jaimee-Lisa Cotter

This past weekend, KOI Music Festival celebrated its fifth year of showcasing a diverse range of musical talent from loads of emerging musical talent. KOI—Kitchener Ontario Independent Music Festival — brings independent and up-and-coming artists of all genres, splaying them out across venues in the downtown Kitchener area, lining King Street with delightful noise and all kinds of locally focused attractions.

Cory and Curt Crossman, founders of KOI festival, brought the hammer down this year with over 100 bands and three days of music for concert-goers to enjoy. In an attempt to put Kitchener-Waterloo on the musical map, the two brothers started KOI to recognize all the under-appreciated and undiscovered musical talent as they had been involved in the underground music scene since the ripe age of 15 and 17 years old.

In the days leading up to the festival, adrenaline was running high for everyone on the KOI team.

“I am super excited to be working with KOI this year,” said Laura Dawson, a resident of Guelph who held the role of Festival Assistant and Social Media Coordinator for the 2014 Festival date “we have tons of sweet bands and independent artists that we are stoked to showcase, it’s going to be a blast!”

On top of showcasing some fantastic musical talent, KOI also extended their boundaries by hosting lots of other features to the festival: most notable of these were the incredible food truck frenzy set ups, KOI Con and the KOI Cares campaign, the latter two aimed at supporting local business ventures giving back to charities in the community. 

 As local business owners themselves, the Crossman brothers understand and appreciate the time and dedication that many start-up ventures require, whether in music or entrepreneurial adventures. Owners and operators of Civilian Print Shop and ARC Cloathing, their mandate of locality is in line with almost everything they take on in the community: the slogan of ARC happens to be “Advance. Renew. Co-exist.” and in a broader scope they continue to create opportunities for growth and development in their own community and surrounding areas, encouraging others businesses, musicians, and artists to take advantage of appearing at venues that help establish a united front of close knit hometown networking.

One festival goer, a young man named Jeremy, traveled all the way from Buffalo to rock out to the incredible line up. “KOI Music Festival seems to be like it is really all about community” he commented as he waited in line for an autograph singing and photo opportunity with this year’s festival closers, Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker “It’s pretty cool that everyone is so tight and so laid back, you definitely wouldn’t have that at something like Riot Fest. I guess it is a way more intimate experience, and totally worth the trip.”

As stated on their website, “The purpose of the festival is, and has always been, to put the Kitchener-Waterloo area on the national music map.”  In creating a vibrant music scene, KOI has helped the Crossman brothers give back to both the community that plays cradle to such an incredible amount of creativity.


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