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Barrie Waterfront Festival will make waves starting Friday

'Barrie has a history of being a music destination going back to the Molson Park era, and people are used to coming to listen to live music,' says tourism official

Fun, games and live music will be returning to Barrie this weekend. 

After a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the popular Barrie Waterfront Festival is set to return starting Friday, May 27 at Centennial Park along the city's lakeshore.

The three-day event  which will feature a variety of musical acts, food trucks, a children’s fun zone and vendors  has been organized by Lido Chilelli and Pat Carpignano, the founders of the popular Toronto's Beaches International Jazz Festival. The jazz festival is now in its 34th year of operation and has drawn crowds in excess of 900,000 people. 

After two long summers, Tourism Barrie executive director Kathleen Trainor said they are beyond excited to see festivals and events finally return to the city.

“Barrie has a history of being a music destination going back to the Molson Park era, and people are used to coming to listen to live music,” she told BarrieToday, adding it's definitely a bonus that many of the festivals are held on the city’s “beautiful” waterfront overlooking Kempenfelt Bay.

Festivals and events such as this one, Trainor noted, pump millions of dollars into Barrie’s visitor economy annually.  

“Since Barrie has very few gated attractions, festivals are hugely important to the hospitality and tourism sector,” she said. “We are so excited to see Kempenfest back this year, too, and I hear they have a great musical lineup for entertainment this year. It will be a busy summer for tourism as people want to be outdoors and listen to live music.”     

Live music is set to kick off at 6:30 p.m., Friday, with Bradford-based rock band Crooked Zebras, followed by Table 69 at 8:30 p.m.

The Toronto All Star Big Band will kick things off Saturday, May 28 at noon, followed by Springwater’s own indie country-rock family band The Argues at 2:30 p.m. Things will really start to rock starting at 4:30 p.m., when The AC/DC Tribute Show hits the stage to bring the look, the sound and the hits of the legendary Australian band. Crooked Zebras will return for a second set at 6:30 p.m., while Foreigner tribute band Jukebox Heroes will take the stage at 8 p.m.

Sunday, May 29 will include music by U2 tribute band Desire at noon followed by music by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers tribute band We Ain't Petty at 2:30 p.m. Closing off the event is Journey tribute band Just Journey, whose performance is slated for 4:30 p.m.

The Barrie Waterfront Festival will also include a midway for kids of all ages as well as a variety of food and other vendors.