After a very successful debut last spring, Heart of Gold Fest is back on the horizon for 2017, and organizers are hoping to add to the momentum of an influx of live concerts around the city.
"Last year was incredibly successful. We had a lot of support from people in the community coming out to check out the bands, to sponsors, to the media's attention, we got a lot of love shown to us. We're definitely going to be building off of that. We are really happy with how successful last year was. With it being our first festival, there was also a learning curve, and we learned quite a bit that we can implement this year," said Johnny Cayen, promoter and proprietor of The Working Class on Second Avenue.
The event will run from March 24 until April 1, and will feature a bevy artists in the punk, indie, alternative rock, and heavy metal genres.
The first of the headliners announced is the three-time Juno Award nominated Toronto based hardcore quartet Cancer Bats, currently touring under the name 'Bat Sabbath', as they will be performing a full set of tunes by heavy metal legends Black Sabbath.
"They're doing a cross-Canada tour for this, with only a select few dates, so its pretty cool that Timmins is included. They're quite popular, so we're really happy to have them," said Cayen.
This initial wave of announced performers also includes The Creepshow, a horror themed psychobilly rock group from Burlington, who are known for their exuberant shows which often include audience participation.
Two bands who made big impressions at last year's festival are returning North - Burlington's The Penske File and Ottawa's We Were Sharks.
School Damage and Dragged In, both from Toronto, as well as Montreal's Boids have also been confirmed, as what Cayen calls 'buzz bands' that are on the cusp of breaking out.
Local flavour will include Timmins' own All The Wasted Years as well as Cochrane based Sage.
"There's going to be a few more local bands released in the second wave. It's always important to have local bands involved in the bigger productions because this is the gateway for them," said Cayen.
A second wave of bands, including another major headliner will be announced in mid-February.
The Working Class will once again be teaming up with the adjacent Victory Tavern for the multi-day event.
"The Vic is a staple of live music in the city. Before we had The Working Class going, Randy Gattesco was incredibly supportive of what we were doing. Always giving us a place to do a show. We grew up going to The Vic, checking out live bands, and its cool that we have a good friendship and partnership," said Cayen.
The two venues will be bouncing off another.
"No shows are going to overrun. We're always going to give people a chance to catch everything,"
Also new for 2017, will be a film screening of 'Fat Wreck'. It is a feature length documentary about the creation and history of Fat Wreck Chords, a San Francisco based independent record label started by 'Fat' Mike Burkett of the iconic punk rock group NOFX in 1990. The label has produced dozens upon dozens of classic albums.
Cayen is thrilled with the growth that the city's live music scene has had in the past year or so.
"From when we started off last year, to see the Timmins Festival and Events Committee put in the time to develop 'Rock on the River', which was awesome, and of course the new festival coming up 'Stars and Thunder', its cool man. Looks like Timmins is an incubator right now for a thriving music scene, and the fact that there's three festivals taking place in the city, when a year ago there was none, that speaks volumes."
Within the three events, Cayen believes most of the musical genres are covered.
"If you're a music fan in Timmins, its an exciting time because there's something for everybody"
Cayen is aiming to have tickets for sale starting Friday, Feb. 10. A full festival pass will be available for $60 dollars plus HST, and will grant entry for upwards of 25 concerts. Individual show tickets will be available for $20 dollars.