FIVE YEARS IS a long time. So, first off, thanks to everyone who helped me get around to writing this thank you, on the heels of five festivals that I didn’t know I had in me six years ago.
But this particular pile of words is for those who made Night\Shift 2017 happen—and as it goes with each instalment, I’m amazed and humbled by the wave of communal support that creates this oddball festival. The crowd that comes out to Night\Shift every year is appreciative, open-minded, respectful and demographically all over the map (which makes for fabulous people watching). Thank you for being witnesses and instigators of your downtown core’s reimagining!
Thanks also for sharing your experiences while exploring #NightShift17 in downtown Kitchener. For all its endless offerings, every now and then our social media streams manage to hone in on exactly the kind of impact you aim to make on festival-goers:
— Andrew Trant (@ajtrant) November 5, 2017
Scope the Instagram tag #nightshift17 for more
As for those who turned the core’s nooks and crannies into a temporarily dream-induced landscape: the 2017 festival’s incredible contributing artists & performers did a magnificent job of recasting a seasonal shift into darkness as a time of illumination, celebration and connection. Each year of Night\Shift welcomes a new wave of experimental visions, and this year’s artist lineup had a fabulous mix of veteran placehackers, fresh faces and exciting out-of-towners.
Our kickoff collage party with Catherine Mellinger at Open Sesame was a warm blast on a quiet, wet Thursday night thanks to our fabulous hosts. Thanks also to local drone wizard d/dt for recording his amazing set (listen above — he even layered in field recordings of flags flapping and cars passing from Carl Zehr Square!); thanks to Castle If for bussing in from Toronto to slay our ears; and thanks to Branko Vranic for priming the minds and hands of the dozens of lovely folks who showed up to make something and enjoy some ambient tunes. One more thank you to the amazing Susan Coolen for sharing a sprinkling of her P.U.D.D.L.E.S. project with the opening nighters (plus coming out on Friday & Saturday too), and for sticking around to make a dope collage.
A double dose of appreciation goes out to Dylan Reibling—the brains and brawn behind last year’s 24-Hour Dolly, an interactive installation endurance project that took over the Kitchener City Hall rotunda and exquisitely filmed the faces of a wide cast of local characters—for putting together a 12-hour, non-stop cut of the project’s footage and presenting it all day long at KWAG on Nov 3rd. Thanks KWAG for hosting our Friday evening festivities, and for always being open to the festival’s impulse to play with your space. And thanks to the artists who braved the 401 to be at KWAG to layer in their transportive music and therapy: M. Mucci from Guelph for christening the crowd; Clara Engel and North Atlantic Drift’s Brad and Mike from Toronto for rounding out the sweet sounds; and the crew behind LUCID, Aaron, Gabriella & Kelsey (also from the big smoke).
For each version of Night\Shift has strived to attract incredible experimental musicians, and 2017’s showcase at Apollo Cinema featured the festival’s biggest and most exciting weirdo lineup yet. Thanks to respectfulchild for flying in from Saskatoon to play! Thanks to Anna of ANAMAI, Chuck of You’ll Never Get To Heaven, and Rollie (aka Cadence Weapon) for saying yes and then killing it like I knew you would! Thanks to Brad Weber (aka Coy Haste) for reaching out and asking to play—and for closing out the night. And thanks to New Fries for coming on board to give us a six-pack of rad acts!
Thanks also to all of the projection artists who truly stepped up to the dubious task of tapping into the Apollo’s projection system and live-creating visual complements to such a wide, accomplished spectrum of music. Jamie, nik, Bryce, Monika, Alex and Jackie — you all did fantastic things with that huge canvas, and we appreciate how well all of you rolled with the technical challenges along the way.
Thanks to Torin Langen for reaching out of his comfort zone (and leading others out of theirs too) by conjuring Offerings, and to Daniel MacPherson for also stretching his legs into a new realm with Duet. And thanks to you both for animating an otherwise empty and unseen space with your completely unalike ideas.
Thanks as well to Night\Shift’s other first-time contributors in 2017: Shawn DeSouza-Coelho for temporarily planting your PoeTree on a patch of DTK concrete; Kevin Henriques for building the multi-dimensional beast of a project that was Space Mother; Tee Kundu for funnelling your community appreciation into Ok Sure; and to Claire Binnie & Ean Kools for collaborating on a wicked capstone mural to complement all the other street art added to Goudies Lane this year.
Thanks to Ian Newton, a true local beacon of trailblazing creative instigation, whose Selectively Selective pop-up gallery turned festival-goers into art-makers with an experiment designed to secretly get us all thinking about being present and paying more attention.
Muchos gracias to other repeat Night\Shifters who again knit their craftiness and ingenuity into the 2017 festival landscape. Katherine Road Quartet, we in awe of your ever-rain-readiness and your uncanny ability to pack small spaces and then fill them beautifully with your voices. VERSA, your projection work is enthralling and it was great to see you treat J&P’s clean walls as a screen for your strange impulses. Gary Kirkham, for reminding us all that echoes of our childhoods need be amplified rather than miniaturized. And Ellie Anglin, your smile-inducing and highly resonant provocation could not have been delivered in a better form (plus, that was probably one of the most fun low-tech redneck installs ever).
Then there’s the project that was easily Night\Shift 2017’s most ambitious and elaborate—an immeasurably pleasing collaboration between a handful of locals who have already done a ton to make this festival what it is. Michelle Purchase & Agnes Niewiadomski’s Fibre Funhouse, for which they worked closely with Green Light Arts to develop intertwining theatrical threads to spill out of it, was a marvel. The Funhouse fabulously extended the festival’s tradition of reimagining Goudies Lane, and this dynamic duo harnessed efforts from literally many communities of locals to make it real. It seems impossible that they’ll be dethroned as DTK’s champion fort-builders anytime soon.
Last but certainly not least, a special thank you to nik harron. Nik’s VR lenses were a total hit at Night\Shift 2017, as expected. The local painter, maker, gamer, creative director, VJer and tinkerer also designed all the festival’s branded materials—and has since day one.
That includes the animations he made so social media thank you posts could go out for this year’s sponsors without boring our audience with logo stacks and white space.
HUGE #HumpDayDTK #ThankYou to @CityOfKitchener for making sure #NightShift17 artists & organizers are well-supported + for being such a consistently fantastic production partner for all 5 #festivals! We quite literally couldn’t do it without you. #placehack #DTK #festival #partners #localart #placemaking
Night\Shift wouldn’t exist without the ever-present and ever-willing-and-able support of the City of Kitchener. Beyond boosting the festival through its Tier 2 community grants program, there are a bunch of particular folks at the City whose extra efforts were about as essential as it gets. Thanks to Hilary Abel for helping run this year’s show, and for lighting a fire under this idea for a festival five years ago! Thanks to Greg Osborn, whose eagle-eared expertise, easy-going demeanour and all around kick-assery made sure a dozen musical acts sounded amazing over three late nights. Thanks to Aaron, Chloe & Dave for handling setup and teardown; to Tim & Steve for the stellar, lighting-quick printing of posters, handbills and festival maps; and to a bunch of City departments that made sure we were good to go in so many ways, including operations, bylaw, parking and security, plus Sandy & Monika on the downtown development team.
Thanks to the Downtown Kitchener BIA for being so thrilled by our festival plans again this year, and for giving us the financial capacity to pay 10 musical acts and seven installation artists to share their ephemeral brilliance here in DTK. Thanks to Canadian Heritage’s Local Festivals program, which granted the festival with funds to cover another six artistic contributions, as well as our volunteer recruitment, organizing and appreciation efforts.
Thank you to Musagetes for supporting the festival, to the Kitchener-Waterloo Community Foundation for administering those funds, and to ArtsBuild Ontario for the charitable status assist that made that money happen. Thanks to the Walper Hotel for generously inviting us to remake a pair of unused spaces on your block, and for pampering the hell out of a few out-of-town artists who needed places to crash. Thanks to the handful of downtown development companies that added to the artist-paying pot—Andrin Homes, Momentum Developments, Zehr Group and Perimeter Development. Thanks to Communitech for being both a festival partner and a programming contributor in 2017 with the True North Waterloo mural in Goudies Lane.
Another round of thanks to the proprietors and staff at a handful of can’t-miss downtown Kitchener spots for opening your spaces to the festival and helping us to deliver three really great nights of multidisciplinary, many-headed, feel-good moments—in particular: J&P Grocery, Apollo Cinema & Mercury Cafe, Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery, and Open Sesame. And one last gulp of appreciation for Together We’re Bitter Co-operative Brewery, who leapt at the chance to name a strange brew after us: the dangerously delicious Night\Shift Black Pale Ale.
Last but most certainly not least, a deep bow of thanks to everyone who made time in their lives to volunteer for Night\Shift 2017. There are too many overlapping tasks and efforts to articulate, but this list is packed with folks whose middle names could very well all be Supportosaurus: Allie Gingerich, Amanda Garbe, Bernie Rohde, Cary Earnest, Daniel Rolf, Elissa Den Hoed, Emily Traichel, Emma Dines, Faryal Diwan, Fig Lettah, James Mallari, Jen van Overbeeke, John Kavanagh, John Schanck, Julia Orlowska, Julia Spiegl, Keren Carr, Lauren Kaita, Mavis Ma, Max, Michele Siep, Mishell Mohsin, Monica Chamberland, Neha Ravella, Nick Fooks, Parker Spender, Paul McDonald, Peter Brown, Peter Levi Schiopu, Reese Hart, Riley Webb, Ronnie Bee, Ryan Boggs, Ryan Toman, Sarah Goldrup, Sean Fullerton, Sophie Spiegl, Sue Nally, Thomas Vicario, Tiffany Howes, Tom Tonner, Victoria Kent, Zoe Janzen.
And a final flourish of gratitude to Night\Shift’s board of directors. Allie Brenner, Marc Lecompte, Mars Orlowska, Sam Trieu and Shirley Madill: your many individual and collective efforts brought this sometimes ridiculous puzzle together, and your enthusiasm, instincts, humour and critical thinking made sure everything fit well and the messes were manageable. Without your guidance, confidence and energy, I wouldn’t have been able to thank all the amazing folks name-checked above.