Top 5 Things to See at In the Soil Arts Festival 2023

June 1, 2023
Katie MacCabe
An Unforgettable Week of Art, Music, Theatre, and Immersive Experiences in St. Catharines Get ready to immerse yourself in a vibrant celebration of creativity and artistic expression at the 15th Annual In the Soil Arts Festival. From June 9-17, downtown St. Catharines will come alive with an array of performances, installations, and interactive experiences. With over 25 artists and events spanning eight days, there's something for everyone to enjoy. Don't miss out on this extraordinary week of artistry and inspiration! Check out the top five things you won’t want to miss at this year’s In the Soil Arts Festival:

1. Free Festival Launch Party

Join Suitcase in Point Multi-Arts Company and an ensemble of talented festival artists for an unforgettable Festival Launch Party. Experience the energy and creativity as downtown St. Catharines bursts into life with captivating performances by Minuscule Choir, Femmes du Feu, Culture Reject, The Northern Arm, and more. This bombastic multi-arts celebration will set the stage for an exciting week of artistic exploration. Be part of the electrifying start to the 15th Annual In the Soil Arts Festival!

When: Friday June 9 at 7 p.m.

Where: The Robby at Niagara Folk Arts Multicultural Centre, 85 Church St.

Admission: Free

2. RHIZOMES: Journey into Alternative Spaces

Step into a world of wonder and exploration with RHIZOMES, the beloved flagship immersive experience of the festival. Each night, discover site-specific installations and short performances in and around the James St. neighbourhood. Let yourself be transported to alternative spaces filled with incredible art, music, and performances. Explore Martina Doom's awe-inspiring installation, protopia, which invites you to delve into the past, present, and potential future of humanity. Don't miss Stuff (Non)Sense by JrifterS, a multidimensional dance exploration of excess and our relationship with the Earth.

    • When: Guided tours depart regularly Thursday, June 15 7–10 p.m.; Friday June 16 7–10 p.m.; Saturday June 17 from 1–4 p.m. and 7–9 p.m.

    • Where: Meet at the RHIZOMES Hive at Avenue Ballroom, 7 James St.

    • Admission: Festival Pass, Event Ticket, or $20 at the door

3. SAMCA: Haunting Theatrical Experience in the Dark Underbrush

Prepare for an unforgettable theatrical journey with SAMCA, a haunting performance inspired by dark Romanian folktales. Created by Spindle Collective and Riot King, this gripping folktale will unfold in the mysterious depths of Burgoyne Woods. Explore themes of infertility, abortion, and the fear of the feminine body in this immersive and thought-provoking experience. SAMCA is just one of the many captivating performances in the In the Soil theatre series.

When: Thursday June 15 9:30 p.m.; Friday June 16 9:30 p.m.

Where: Burgoyne WoodsAdmission: Festival Pass, Event Ticket, or $20 at the door pending capacity

4. Bandemonium: Rock Out with Three Unforgettable Bands

Let loose and rock out at Bandemonium, an evening filled with high-energy performances by three incredible bands. Catch Lego Money, a young brother-duo with the energy of a stadium rock band. Jam along to the infectious sounds of local pub punk band Chub. Finally, prepare to be transported to a jungle fever dream with Bananananana, a synth-punk/shock rock duo from Hamilton, Ontario. Get ready to dance the night away to the pulsating beats and electrifying melodies.

When: Saturday June 10 at 8 p.m.

Where: The Robby at Niagara Folk Arts Multicultural Centre

Admission: Festival Pass, Event Ticket, or $20 at the door pending capacity

5. Queer, trans, and non-binary arts spaces at In the Soil Arts Festival!

There are so many cool queer, trans, & non-binary artists & spaces at In the Soil Arts Festival this year!

Gender and sexually diverse experiences and expression in the arts can never be just one thing and we are excited to share that element of metanoia/change/revolution at In the Soil Arts Festival this year! Alongside an amazing set of free family-friendly and interactive events, we are excited to highlight a fantastic lineup of queer, trans and non-binary artists who will be joining us for performances, workshops, and discussions from June 9 to June 17.

Throughout the entire festival, we have free community gatherings and celebrations -kicking off with our Festival Launch Party, our Vendor Bender on Saturday, the Collage-a-thon with Paper Bananas and so much more.

In coming out to these community gatherings, we are excited for all types of families to bring their kids, their grandparents, and everyone in between to the Fam Jamalama and the Massive Band Parade! It is important to note that not all of these events are led by members of 2S&LGBTQQIA+ artists, but are built to welcome experiences and expressions of individuals, artists, and families spanning all experiences of gender and sexuality.

In embracing our communities perspectives and insights, we are excited to connect with folks at the different interactive opportunities! Folks can connect with other artists through the Arts Mentorship Roundtable. And specifically for members of 2S&LGBTQQIA+ communities,  join Sid Ryan-Eilers and Shannon Kitchings for a Queer Conscious Moving Bodies Workshop.

Thinking of seeing all the amazing performances, you will have a full schedule throughout the festival from Kiss The Stormy Sky with Aeris Körper Contemporary Dance to our RHIZOMES featuring drag queen Annagram and a visual installation by Anya Palamartschuk, we have countless opportunities to expand what it means to be queer, trans, and non-binary in the arts. We also want to especially highlight our in-house artists from both the NEST Residency and Electric Innovations, who will be exploring ideas of artistic expression, transphobia, religion, grief, queer exploration, and so much more.

Rounding out the festival, we also eagerly welcome DijahSB, Toronto-based Black non-binary rapper, and the Spindles Collective, presenting their anthology show SAMCA, exploring infertility, abortion, and fear of the feminine body to the festival and the region~

Our 15th annual festival happens in June, and in the interest of honouring the past and ongoing struggles highlighted in Pride month, we want to hold space for broad range of celebration, grief, solidarity, and art and activism from 2S&LGBTQQIA+ artists and communities. In celebrating this work, we want to also highlight our very cool community partners, and the ever expanding network of artists and organizations in Niagara expanding queer, trans, and non-binary arts opportunities in Niagara - those leading the day-to-day work of metanoia/change/revolution.

When: Various dates and times - visit inthesoilfest.com for more information

Where: Various venues - visit inthesoilfest.com for more information

Admission: Festival Pass, Event Ticket, or admission at the door pending capacity

From the spectacular Festival Launch Party to the immersive experiences of RHIZOMES, the haunting tales of SAMCA, the high-energy performances of Bandemonium, and the captivating Pride programming, the 15th Annual In the Soil Arts Festival promises an unforgettable week of artistic wonder. Don't miss this opportunity to be part of St. Catharines' thriving arts community and witness the power of creativity firsthand. Join us from June 9-17 for a truly remarkable celebration of the arts. You can get an all-access pass or tickets to individual performances on their website www.inthesoilfest.com.

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