Up Here Festival is back for its 5thanniversary and ready to celebrate “weird and wonderful” Sudbury.
Every summer, muralists and musicians come to Sudbury to expand the downtown’s every-growing urban art gallery. With three days packed with performances from emerging and established artists, the festival has a little something for everybody.
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Up Here celebrates 'weird and wonderful' SudburyBack to video
The project originally began simply with photography books. But co-founder Christian Pelletiersaid the launch event for the first book at the Fromagerie was so packed, they needed to expand to the Grand for the second book. When that event was also packed, it became clear that people were attended to be part of a community celebration.
So, they decided to expand and the festival was the result.
The idea was to use art to bring vibrancy to the community. Each year, new murals crop up around the city by muralists from around the world.
“Every single mural has a story around it. It’s like we’re contributing to the urban folklore of the city.”
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The festival also strives to showcase a diverse set of emerging musicians at concerts around the city.
Pelletier says it’s the perfect way to give the city its own unique flavour and bring the community together to celebrate.
“There’s something for everyone here,” says Pelletier. “It’s the festival for curious minds and I think we’re all intrinsically curious and we want to discover new things.”
For the 5thanniversary, they wanted to do something big, and they committed to that goal. Artist Risk is currently in the process of painting the biggest mural in Canada on the side of the old St. Joseph’s Hospital on Paris Street.
Co-founder Jen McKerral says keeping things fresh is part of the fun.
“We always try to keep an element of surprise for our audience,” she says. “It’s part of the DNA of the festival, to keep doing things a bit differently every year.”
Their efforts keep paying off; every year, the festival keeps growing. McKerral says the support from the community allows them to keep growing and trying new, exciting things.
“The community really rallies around it in a way we’d hoped but didn’t necessarily expect.”
She also says they want to keep their festival accessible to everyone. There are several free events available throughout the weekend, including Family Day in Memorial Park on Saturday, all their 5-7 shows, and all the pop-up shows that can be discovered at a moment’s notice through the Up Here app.
And even if you don’t attend any shows, the murals are a public art gallery that can be accessed at any time.
“It’s important for everyone to feel that they can be inspired in their community and that they can have access to that inspiration 24/7,” she says, “We hope to continue to keep showing new perspectives and being able to include more people and more perspectives as we keep going.”
Up Here Festival takes place across Sudbury from Aug 16-18. The full schedule and tickets can be found online at uphere.com.
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