My relationship with the Home County Music and Art Festival has been a long and intimate friendship. In 1974, I attended a planning meeting where a grassroots organization planned to use Victoria Park as a stage for music, craft, dance and community engagement. I was excited to contribute and have been attending and volunteering at Home County since its inception. I was thrilled to be selected as a textile vendor in 1978. Now forty six years later, I provide support and direction as a member of the Board of Directors of Home County Folk League (3 years) and as Craft Coordinator (4 seasons).
It was transition to retirement that afforded me the opportunity to volunteer my coordination skills and love of the arts to the organization that I feel has contributed consistently to the cultural fabric of London. As the first, outdoor music and art festival, Home County set the standard for other cultural festivals and entertainment events. More events have been added in the city, but none has retained the reputation where Canadian, juried, art and craft, designed, produced and sold by the artists themselves, is not only valued but expected. Our fine artists and craft artisans are curated by jury and due to this standard, we attract and retain a large number of professional artists.
Three years ago I introduced our Creative Roots Tent where 10 emerging artists are invited to display their work at an affordable price. They test the market, gain experience and the confidence to consider stepping up to an individual booth in following years.
Artists demonstrating and sharing their craft is always a feature at Home County. Potters at the wheel, painters at the easel, yarn spun and woven on a loom add to the fun and education available at each booth. Visitor comments reflect the friendships that were forged with artists as they relate the process of their work.
As the Craft Coordinator, I am excited to manage the controlled growth and diversity of our artists and craft artisans. Our intention is to make thoughtful selection by quality, category and product. Artist fees are an important segment of the festival revenue and do contribute to the success of our Festival. We use a percentage of this revenue to provide the supports and recognition for the ART in Home County Music and Art Festival.
Attendance at Home County does not require a pricey ticket. Everyone is able to walk into the park and free-will donation is how the audience shows appreciation. We hope that with continued financial sponsorship, we will be able to sustain and enhance our Festival. We want to continue what has been a multi-decade ‘work of magic’ for residents of London, for our name sake four counties and those from afar, who visit our beautiful festival on the 3rd weekend in July.
Learn more about Home County Folk League