The Niagara News is the community newspaper of Niagara College located in Welland and Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada. It is created and produced by the students of the Niagara College Journalism program.
Merritt Park got loud Sept. 11 when the Youth Action Festival came to downtown Welland. Over 30 bands showed up to rock the stages while comedians shared the spotlight. The festival ran from 2 to 11 p.m. This was the first year for the all-ages Youth Action Festival. Ben Andress was the organizer for the outdoor event.
Chelsea Crites and band member belt out a cover of Picture by Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow. Photo by Emma Russell
The day welcomed a variety of people from teens to seniors, while some parents brought their children. Spectators paid $10 prior to the night while others paid $15 at arrival. The tickets were being purchased at CD Plus in the Seaway Mall on Niagara Street.
Connor Johnstone, 19, says, "The money raised goes to the bands playing." Johnstone says the rest of the money goes towards the YMCA Youth Action Centre. It is at 20 Hagar St.
Johnstone’s band, Face, was one of many playing. "Music’s awesome. I have the best time in the world doing it."
The bands were separated by four different stages. The main acts were on the IlluminAqua stage, while others played on the acoustic stage and at the Bridge Pub Patio.
Wheatus, the band known for its popular hit Teenage Dirtbag, blessed the stage with their presence at the end of the night. Lead singer Brendan Brown called on everyone sitting in the audience to join him on stage and without hesitation the audience got up and gathered around. Brown says he loves Welland.
"Tonight was hardcore. Welland is hardcore."
The festival promotes many local talented artists. Meggan McMillan and Ann Kent say they came to the show to support their local music scene.
"We’re curious to see how Wheatus is."
Robyn Archer, 19, says the variety of bands opened her eyes to all the talent in Welland.
The other performers were Black Majik Movement, Chelsea Crites, The Snips, Grey Kingdom, Andy Moog & The Sausage Party, Ol’ Dirty Burger, Cat On Acid and many more.
The day featured many genres, from Black Majik Movement bringing hip-hop, Chelsea Crites singing country, to Blacktop Recess screaming metal.
Scott Brady, 19, said he came out to see his favourite band, Cat On Acid, while Archer says she was the most excited to see Wheatus.
The event’s weather worked out to be beautiful all day with only a little rain towards the end.
Brady says, "Turned out to be a great day. Everybody is having a great time."
The comedy records tent hosted Barry Taylor, John Hastings and Tim Nasiopoulous as the comedians for the night to step up to and make the audience laugh. Brendan Brown even became a comedian at the end of the night. His advice for college students was to "drop out and gain a real skill."
Check out all the bands and other information on the festival’s website, www.youthactionfest.com.