It’s Festival Season in Waterloo Region

It’s Festival Season in Waterloo RegionIt’s Festival Season in Waterloo Region

Kultrún World Music Festival

by Glodeane Brown 

Festival season is upon us and there’s plenty of them to explore this spring and summer in Waterloo Region! Check out these great events:

CAFKA 18 logoCAFKA.18 Biennial

What is a biennial anyway? Isn’t that an art thing that happens in Europe? Well yes, but it also happens right here at home in Waterloo Region. A biennial is any event that happens every two years. In art terms it refers to large-scale international contemporary art exhibitions.

outdoor art display at CAFKA 14


CAFKA’s biennial program of exhibitions in the public spaces of the Region takes the experience of contemporary art out of the gallery and makes it available to everyone, animating our public spaces and helping to generate conversations and reflections about the community we live in, and the community we want to be. In addition to great installations, there is a long list of activities for everyone from performances to workshops to multi-lingual tours produced by CAFKA and by curatorial and festival partners.

CAFKA.18 kicks off on Saturday June 2 at 7 pm with an opening reception at Kitchener City Hall and later that evening an Artist Party at 44 Gaukel Street in Kitchener. The biennial runs until July 1. Follow CAFKA on social media or check out the event calendar to stay up to date.

Summer Lights bannerSummer Lights Festival

On June 9th from 8pm-1pm, explore, discover, and ignite the night with the 5th annual Summer Lights Festival (SLF). SLF shuts down 8ish blocks of Downtown Kitchener (DTK) and throws an outdoor street festival like no other in the region! This FREE festival welcomes all ages and offers an endless list of things to do. SLF is an independent festival under the direction of Charlène Le Duc and it creates intersections with art, tech, music, community, STEAM, maker, games, dance, education, food, theatre, improv, hands on, and buskers in a way that makes you part of the experience. In the spirit of SLF, surprises are in store, so expect the unexpected, like a real LIVE wedding officiated by the former Mayor of Waterloo Brenda Halloran. Come share the love! Buses will travel between Waterloo and Kitchener all night long and one bus will travel from University area to DTK all night long. Plant yourself on King St and go!

K-W Multicultural Festival

The Kitchener-Waterloo Multicultural Centre exists to foster the diversity which exists in this community and to facilitate the full participation of everyone who lives here. They have been serving this community for 50 years. 2018 is the K-W Multicultural Festival’s 51st year.

On June 23rd-June 24th be one of the 50,000 visitors to experience the world’s diversity and all of its wonders at this two-day festival with international cuisine, a marketplace and  a main performance stage. Rain or shine, there is something for the whole family. This year’s festival will be showcasing over 15 food vendors, over 125 craft and community groups in the international marketplace, and two days of entertainment on the festival stage. Featured performers include Alysha Brilla & The Brilltones (June 23rd, 7 p.m.), Jesse T (June 24th, 4 p.m.), and John Orpheus (June 24th, 7 p.m.).

Kultrún World Music Festival

Neruda Arts’ 2018 Kultrún World Music Festival opens on Friday July 13 with a special gala night at THEMUSEUM featuring Morena Son, a seven-women salsa band from Santiago de Cuba. The world music sensation presents Cuban traditional music in fresh and new arrangements with guitars, drums and melodious voices that will keep you dancing all night.

The FREE festivities take place in Downtown Kitchener’s Victoria Park on Saturday and Sunday (July 14 and 15). This year features international bands from Colombia, Chile, Cuba, Mexico, Spain, Uganda and Korea, Indigenous artists from the two Americas, in addition to diverse bands from across Canada and a myriad of local talent.

Dubbed the Region’s ‘biggest outdoor dance party,’ Kultrún is a family-friendly celebration of diversity including all-ages interactive activities, workshops by professional artists, performance art, food, craft and art market and a beer garden cantina. This is one event you do not want to miss!