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It’s time to register your 2018 Culture Days events!

The 9th annual Culture Days weekend will take place September 28, 29, 30, 2018.

Event registration is now open. Read on to find out more about the Culture Days initiative, this year’s theme, local opportunities, 6 reasons to register, and FAQs for those thinking about registering an event.

What is Culture Days?

Culture Days is an annual three-day celebration that aims to raise awareness, accessibility, participation and engagement of Canadians in the arts and cultural life of their communities.

Each year, in every province, individual artists, cultural groups, organizations, municipalities and festivals offer free participatory and interactive arts and cultural activities during the Culture Days weekend. 

Any arts or cultural activity – professional, community, amateur, educational, etc., can be listed as part of Culture Days as long as it meets the basic criteria: an event happening on the Culture Days weekend, that is free to the public and involves audience participation or reveals a behind-the-scenes aspect to give the public a better understanding of the inner world of arts and culture. Events must be registered on culturedays.ca to be considered a part of Culture Days. Registration is free.

The National 2018 Programming Theme is OnBeat!

on beat

Across the country, communities, organizations, and individuals are invited to participate in OnBeat by organizing drumming and/or rhythm-inspired events during Culture Days.

OnBeat programming does not have to be limited to drumming. Rhythm can make its way into many different art forms and cultural practices including dance, visual arts, theatre, digital arts, and storytelling.

Local Opportunities

The City of Guelph’s Culture Hub & Makers Market is back for another year in Market Square, occurring Saturday, September 29 from 9 a.m. until noon. If you’d like to host an activity or be a vendor at the event, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The City of Guelph will produce a pamphlet guide to Culture Days in Guelph, by taking all local events published on culturedays.ca as they appear on the website on September 13, 2018. Be sure to have registered your event and published the final details by that date to be included in this local publication.

Guelph Arts Council will also share the lineup with our 1600 enews and social media followers.

GAC will also assist individuals and organizations looking for collaboration opportunities. To indicate your interest in finding local collaborators, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or submit a call for collaborators to our enews/website through this form https://guelpharts.ca/submit-arts-news-and-events.

6 reasons to register your event as an official Culture Days event:


Be discovered by new audiences! Have your activity appear when the public uses the activity or geo-locator search functions to find activities and plan their weekends.

Alert other Culture Days activity organizers that you are participating too – this will increase opportunities for collaboration and cross-promotion.

Help your community be eligible for FREE Culture Days SWAG. SWAG, which may include a variety of marketing materials such as stickers, balloons, bookmarks, Bright Spots venue identifiers, posters, buttons, and/or temporary tattoos is only delivered to communities where multiple activities are registered.

Take advantage of the social and electronic media promotional features built into each activity page. These features allow you to share your activity on Facebook, Twitter or email it to individuals.

Bring your activity to the attention of national and provincial/territorial organizing committees! Your activity could be chosen as a featured activity on the website, be included in lists of highlight activities sent to local, regional and national press, be pitched to local media as an activity to cover, or be included in a wide range of marketing and PR efforts that take place at each level of the Culture Days campaign.

Share your story with the media! Media outlets search culturedays.ca to find events to cover that are of interest to their audiences.

By registering your activity you leverage the combined marketing and PR campaign valued at over $6 million that directs the public to culturedays.ca. Once you’ve registered your activity on the webpage, take advantage of the many resources available to help you plan and promote your activity and be sure to sign up to receive regular e-newsletters  with valuable advice and news about Culture Days.


We’re already busy, what if we don’t have the capacity to add another major event to our planning?
Guelph has a lot of amazing events already going on. Culture Days is a chance to showcase them on a wider scale.

 If it’s possible and makes sense for you, why not take something you wanted to do anyway, and schedule it for the Culture Days weekend? Think about Culture Days as part of your yearly planning. The timing might turn out to be perfect, and you have the opportunity to leverage wider exposure for free. Plus, the earlier you register, the greater the chance Culture Days has to promote your event in extra ways.

If you know of another organization, artist, or community partner who wants to put something on, you might be able to collaborate on their event rather than creating one of your own.

I don’t know about organizing something on my own. Is there a hub I can join?
Yes! The City of Guelph’s Culture Hub & Makers Market is back for another year in Market Square, occurring Saturday, September 29 from 9 a.m. until noon. If you’d like to host an activity or be a vendor at the event, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

What if we can’t afford not to charge admission to our workshop/event/performance?
In most cases, it costs at least some money to put on an event. It might work for you to tack on a free component to your paid-entry event using resources already budgeted for – a Q&A with performers, a behind-the-scenes tour of the venue, an interactive activity using donated or recycled materials (or just the audience’s imagination!)

Consider partnering with a business – for example companies hoping to sell their art-world wares are often happy to host a free demo. A business looking to reach new audiences might be willing to contribute space or other resources if it means bringing new people through their doors. Others may be seeking community sponsorship opportunities, which could mean contributing money to cover artist fees, for example, in return for recognition.

Do you have an oddball experiment you’ve wanted to try? Something you’re not ready to charge for, or that’s different from what you normally do? This is a great opportunity to get free help rustling up an audience for a brand new experience to test on a curious public.

Consider joining he City of Guelph’s Culture Hub & Makers Market in Market Square, happening Saturday, September 29 from 9 a.m. until noon. If you’d like to host an activity or be a vendor at the event, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

What if we already have something planned for that weekend?
If you are thinking of hosting an eligible cultural event or event component on the last weekend in September – a dance performance, a food tasting, a behind the scenes architecture or theatre tour, an art workshop – why not register it as a Culture Days event? It doesn’t cost a cent, and isn't any more complicated than uploading your event to an online community calendar. 

What if we want to participate but aren’t ready to register yet?
It’s not too late to get planning! The earlier you register, the better. However, you can work on the big details now – date and time, title, location, partners, and register on culturedays.ca. Then, as the details are worked out, those can be uploaded later. On September 13, 2018 the City of Guelph will produce a pamphlet guide to Culture Days in Guelph, by taking all local events as they appear published on culturedays.ca on that date.


Art on the Street Returns to Downtown Guelph for 16th Year

A festival for art lovers of all ages 

By the Downtown Guelph Business Association and Guelph Arts Council

Co-organised by the DGBA and Guelph Arts Council, Art on the Street is a highly regarded exhibition and sale that has become a staple calendar event for art lovers of all ages.  

Come browse the original works of art and shop for one-of-a-kind gifts.  With a juried selection of artists displaying works including just about every medium: textiles, pottery, photography, watercolours, oils, acrylic and more.  The event takes place this year on Saturday June 23rd.  Please visit our facebook event page for all the up to date details.

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Art on the Street Plein Air – courtesy of Ivano Stocco ©

Art on the Street will showcase an array of original work and exciting projects from nearly 100 established and emerging fine artists and artisans.

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Photos by Rukhsar Jaffer

This event is a blast for all ages. Young children are invited to get creative in St George’s Square, which will be transformed into the Children’s Arts Festival. As usual, it’s all about the kids making the art. Join the Children’s Art Factory, Guelph School of Art, Play with Clay, the Guelph Public Library and the Suzuki String School of Guelph as they fill the space with creative activities.

Returning for a second year, the Mini Makers Market will feature kids selling their wares from pint-sized market stalls. To sign your crafty kid up for this awesome Children's Art Factory initiative, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 

AOTS2018 poster

Each year the organizers choose a local artist to contribute a piece of their work and become the event’s ‘poster artist’. This year, oil and pastel painter and winner of Art on the Street’s People’s Choice Award, Jessica Masters has provided a painting that makes us long for hot summer days at the cottage.

Volunteer AOTS image
Photo courtesy of The Downtown Guelph Business Association 

One of the most beloved aspects of Art on the Street is our famous Art Angels. We are currently seeking these much-appreciated volunteers aged 16 and over to work 3 or 4 hour shifts at the event. As an Art Angel, you’ll help decorate Quebec Street, assist artists, direct attendees to washrooms, food vendors, children’s area etc., and hand out event programs and ballots. Not to mention you get to look at all the lovely art!

All volunteers will receive an I  Downtown Guelph t-shirt, and yummy snacks and refreshments. Fill out the online form to join the team:

Art on the Street continues to support emerging artists looking for opportunities to sell their work. Visit them in the RBC lot and support them in gaining this valuable experience.

Can’t wait for the event? You won’t have to. As a sneak preview, Art in the Shops showcases some of this year’s artists, whose work will appear in downtown businesses in the week leading up to the event. Check downtownguelph.com for details in June, and don’t forget to visit our facebook event page for all the up-to-date details on the event!

Art on the Street is the perfect excuse to bring your friends and family out for a spectacular day of art, entertainment, food and activities on Saturday June 23. Don’t miss out!

AOTS street shot
Photo by Rukhsar Jaffer


GAIN Music and DSTRCT Bring Back Battle of the Bands

by Katie Wilde


The Battle of the Bands makes a triumphant return to Guelph after several years’ hiatus, and it’s going to be ‘bigger and badder than ever’, says Nik Wever, Director of Operations at GAIN Music and co-owner of DSTRCT, Guelph’s Premiere Live Music and Entertainment Venue.

Vanessa Tignanelli of the GALACTICATS photo by Brandon Marsh Photography courtesy of GAIN Music
Vanessa Tignanelli of the GALACTICATS competing in the last Battle of the Bands. Photo by Brandon Marsh Photography, courtesy of GAIN Music. 

DSTRCT occupies the upper floors above Van Gogh’s Ear (currently under renovations to become La Reina). It’s a hub of alternative live music, art (murals abound), and community. Something about DSTRCT reminds me of the photo series “Metal Cats” by Alexandra Crockett, which captures charming moments between hardcore metal music stars, and their pet cats. It’s a place of surprises, connections, loud (and not-so-loud) music, and stands out as a powerfully nurturing environment for artists and audiences alike.

2018’s Battle of the Bands is one of the ways GAIN Music and DSTRCT give a platform to rising musical talent in the region. Round one features four bands each on four nights in May, starting May 4. Winners of those battles will face off in June, with finals in July. Lineup details and voting can be found on the event website.

The bands are paid to perform, even if they don’t win. Top prizes include spots in 2019 GAIN and Kronik music festivals, a lyric video, recording, professional band photos, custom drum head, a podcast feature and other great prizes.


Scoring is determined by a combination of audience votes, ticket sales and judges’ scores. Hard rock, punk and metal bands or solo artists can still apply to participate in a later round by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with a link to tunes and socials.

I took a moment aside with Wever (I think I took over his entire break and then some), to dig into some details of the newly revived Battle of the Bands.

Thanks for taking the time for me, Nik. I'm wondering when this all started and how it has evolved since.

We first hosted the Battle of the Bands at the end of 2013, start of 2014. It was originally going to be something we were going to run as a yearly event but post-competition we hosted our fourth annual GAIN Music and Arts festival that March, then a few months later we were opening DSTRCT and the battle got lost in the shuffle, so we haven't hosted one since.

So it's a triumphant return!

Yeah! Bigger and badder than ever. Haha

There's so much going on at DSTRCT that you've developed in just a few years.

A lot of the ideas have been in development for years but we hadn't had a proper venue for it. So Bilay and I just opened our own place so we could do everything we'd talked about.

I know you host many genres, like metal and punk and indie, but how would you describe it? I imagine we won't be hearing a chamber choir - but then I'm not sure I'd be completely shocked if it was worked in! DSTRCT feels a place where nothing is totally off limits.

Yeah it definitely is a very eclectic place as far as musical genres go. Our goal is to bring a high production show each and every time so that bands get to experience playing on a real stage, with lights, monitors, a tech and everything you'd expect at a larger venue.

Anyone can throw some speakers onto stands, book a few bands and host a show. But we believe that there's more to it than just that. Both from the bands’ perspective and also from the fan / music-goer perspective.

We want both fans and bands feeling like they're a part of something bigger when they come to DSTRCT and feel like they're a part of the community as a whole.

Mac n Sleaze GAIN MusicMac N’ Sleeze performing at GAIN Music and Arts Festival 2018. Photo by Manny Martindale, courtesy of GAIN Music. 

It seems like that’s DSTRCT’s m.o. - what do you hope most that participants and audiences take away from about the Battle of the Bands in particular?

For the battle in particular I was looking to flesh out some new talent and tap into a bit of a younger audience. I first started going to live shows when I was 13 or 14 and know that there's a whole generation of kids in Guelph who have no idea where to go for live music. Or they don't know we host all-ages events.

Most place downtown are bars and we feel a place like DSTRCT is important because there has to be somewhere for artists, especially younger ones, to go and do their art, whatever that may be.

Great point. People that age (in my experience) are busting with creativity and talent and energy. There's no point waiting years before getting them into an environment that helps them feed that energy and develop their talents.

Exactly. I didn't even live in Guelph but knew about the Trasheteria and knew they hosted live music. I'm in my thirties now but I know that having a place like DSTRCT is important for both the community and the youth in it.

I’m curious - do you still serve alcohol at the all-ages events?

Yes, we do still serve alcohol and we've even created mocktail menus for events we know will have a younger crowd.

Any memorable moments from the last battle? What have the bands gone on to do since?

Oh for sure. One of the bands that participated in that battle are now touring the country, playing RiverFest Elora and are really making a name for themselves. Common Deer is their name.

We also had Joel Saunders impress the judges so much that he ended up playing our festival that year and is still playing and teaching. He was a solo act who played fingerstyle which is just crazy to watch.

It’s hard to explain the style but it's crazy. And for a solo act to beat out bands was pretty surreal.

No kidding!

In a band you've got a few members pulling for online votes, and getting people out to the shows so to have a solo artist be the runner up, that surprised me.

I wonder if they turned general audience members into fans, and created most of their votes just by the performance.

Oh definitely.

I saw you announced a celebrity judge recently, Saturdae Jonez / D'eve Archer Music, are the others still top secret?

Not top secret but a few hadn't confirmed fully yet. The other battle we had different judges on each battle with some doing a few. This time around I wanted to keep the judges as consistent as possible to keep judging equal across each round. We'll be announcing the another judges today, tomorrow and Thursday in the lead up to the start of online votes.

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Battle of the Bands 2018 guest judge Saturdae Jonez / D'eve Archer Music moves crowds at GAIN Music Fest 2018. Photo by Manny Martindale, courtesy of GAIN Music. 


Is this the typical Battle of the Bands format? Or do you put your own twist on it?

We put a bit of a spin on it. Most battles of the bands don't make money and it has sort of tainted the appeal of a battle. We really try to put that we pay bands at the forefront so that bands know that in addition to the prizes they still get paid at every show. Even if they don't win.

We sort of wanted to angle it how it’s done on TV shows as well. Celebrity judges and all. What I like about the judge aspect too is that a few of the judges are local promoters, bookers, industry people. So bands get exposure and chances to network. If they don't win they can still get connected and get feedback on their performance, etc.

I love this. THIS the definition of valuable exposure, combined with pay.

And I feel it's helped break down some barriers between the various people hosting shows too. I've never liked how at times when I was a bit younger how the music / arts scene seemed so divided. This competition gave us an great opportunity to reach out to others to participate in a common event.

Where are the competing bands from?

So far we have bands from Toronto, Stratford, KW, London, Barrie and Niagara who have all applied.

The Howling photo by Brandon Marsh Photography courtesy ot GAIN MusicThe Howling, competing in Battle of the Bands 2014. Photo by Brandon Marsh Photography, courtesy of GAIN Music. 

What are you most looking forward to for this Battle?

I think what I’m most looking forward to is working with new bands and putting them on the Guelph stage.

We actually ended up with such an overwhelming response that we split the battle into two events. So this one starting in May has fifteen bands competing (the May 26 battle will feature The Honest Heart Collective as a guest headliner so will only have three bands competing) and it is indie and rock bands primarily. The second battle will be in July and will be for the hard rock / punk and metal. We’re still taking applications for the second battle.

How should interested musicians apply?

Just send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with a link to tunes and socials.

Well, congratulations on the resurrection of this event, it sounds like an awesome opportunity for artists, and great entertainment for audiences!

Definitely! Tickets are on sale now at DSTRCT or on Eventbrite.

Guelph's Black History at Forefront in The Crossings Project


Silence: Guelph’s Portal for Adventurous New Sound Events, in collaboration with the Guelph Black Heritage Society (GBHS) and the Art Gallery of Guelph (AGG), presents The Crossings Project – Exile, Exodus, and Transformation on May 26, 2018 from 7-10:30 pm, beginning at Silence and ending at Heritage Hall, with a street parade between the two venues. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at Silence, Heritage Hall, or Eventbrite. Silence is located at 46 Essex Street  and Heritage Hall at 83 Essex Street  in Guelph.

The Crossings Project is a musical, community-oriented acknowledgement of the millions of Africans who were abducted and enslaved during the trans-Atlantic slave trade (approximately 1526-1867). Through perseverance and courage, many families and individuals moved up the Underground Railroad and settled in Guelph, many on the very street (Essex) on which both venues are found. The Crossings Project includes a transformative journey towards a common knowledge about the Guelph community and its historical roots.

Beginning at 7 pm at Silence, the audience will be treated to an impressionistic soundscape composed and conducted by the talented Guelph musician Andrew Craig and narrated by renowned singer and actress Tabby Johnson. A multimedia exhibition curated by Kerry-Ann Cornwall and Andrew Hunter, of the Guelph Black Heritage Society and the Art Gallery of Guelph, will counterpoint the concert with important visual artifacts drawn from the local community. Engaging with ideas of artifact and archive, the exhibition weaves together family histories, urban geographies, and layers of memory spanning time and place, and in so doing visually addresses the traces, absences, and erasures of slavery in the heart of Guelph. The music performed at Silence will explore the middle passage and what occurred after people arrived in the Americas with specific relation to Guelph. 

Kerry-Ann Cornwall, a researcher with the AGG and Director of Programming at the GBHS, says: “Black history in Guelph has not been given due attention, despite the fact that Guelph’s population in the late 1800s was large and diverse. With every book and every archive, we find out about the music they enjoyed, the instruments they played, and their roles in the church and in their community. History is forged in the streets we walk and the buildings we use.”

From 8 – 9 pm, Essex Street will be closed, taking the event outdoors with a traveling street party and parade. Led by Toronto’s Junkanoo All Stars with music from the Bahamas, guests will dance and celebrate up and down this historic road between Silence and Heritage Hall. Come prepared to parade, party, sing, dance, eat, and enjoy a spectacle for the senses! 

The events at Heritage Hall, home of the Guelph Black Heritage Society, will run from 9 – 10:30 pm. At Heritage Hall, there will be food, a continuance of the multimedia exhibition, and a culmination of the musical journey towards a common knowledge and confluence of cultures based in Guelph. 

Storyteller and singer Tabby Johnson says: “With one changing voice to encourage us, we answer to the call. In the depths of where you are right that moment lies the root of your vibrational ancestor. When you feel and hear the voice beside you the voice across the room from you and you sense it’s not loudness, it’s the vibrations of unison playing with each other creating a certain kind of harmony. That’s call and response.”

Come join us as we celebrate the individuals who made Guelph what it is today.

Silence gratefully acknowledges funding from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Guelph Community Foundation's Musagetes Fund, and support from the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation. 

For more information, visit www.silencesounds.ca or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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