The Cicada Festival is returning to St. Catharines.
After a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the Cicada Music and Arts Festival is returning to Henley Island. Tickets are now on sale for this year’s music festival, which will be held on October 1.
Headlined by the Strumbellas and Tokyo Police Club, co-organizer Ben Goerzen said the festival also features local acts and is fun for the whole family.
Cicada Festival started in the early 2000s by St. Catharines’ Thom Lepp. Goerzen, a friend of Lepp’s sons Malcolm and Evan, explained the festival originated in the Lepp’s backyard and the neighbors were all invited.
“As it grew over that 14-year initial period, it got as big as 1,500 (people),” said Goerzen.” The show moved through a number of venues, such as Niagara Falls’ Serbian Picnic Grounds and St. Catharines’ Club LaSalle, before finding its home on Henley Island in 2010.
Lepp held his last Cicada Festival on Henley Island in 2011, before he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2012. His backyard became the festival’s home again until he passed away in 2017.
In 2018, his sons, along with Goerzen, brought the festival back to Henley Island, with proceeds going toward the Movember Foundation. Now the show is run by the Lepps, Goerzen, Kaitlin Sanders and Erik Dickson of Warehouse Concert Hall. “We’re not some fancy talent company, we’re friends first, and a group of people who really want to see music in St Catharines,” he said.
This year, Goerzen said they decided to support a more local charity.
“Prostate cancer obviously is quite narrow in regards to who we’re supporting and what it’s doing,” Goerzen said. “Our mental health is universal to any human being on this. So after a little bit of research we landed on Pathstone [Mental Health] as a great organization, a great local organization.”
Not only will the event feature great music, but Goerzen said there will be food and drinks.
“Family friendly has always been a big concept for us,” he said. “We’ve been lucky to have children’s performers every year. It’s unique and that it’s an all-day event. So come on out, bring your kids, bring the young ones during the day, then get them a babysitter at night, you can re-enter later in the evening … And you’re going to hear the best of Canadian local Canadian touring acts and local, local, up-and-coming bands as well.”
Most important to Goerzen is that it’s a fun day for families and to bring the community together.
“I love seeing people come together and make music again,” he said. “It’s a really universal way to bring people together from any background. We work hard to keep our ticket price very affordable … We want this to be an event for anyone and everyone, no matter your background or anything like this. Musicfirst. For $60, you’re getting 12 hours of music programming, 12 hours of fun for the family kind of thing. So yeah, that’s a community accessible community moment. I really enjoy that part of it.”
To purchase tickets or see the lineup, visit cicadafestival.ca.