Indigenous artists will be highlighted at this year’s Festival of Friends

The Festival of Friends, an annual celebration of music, food and fun at Hamilton’s Gage Park, is celebrating Indigenous talent for one day during its three-day festival during the upcoming Civic Holiday weekend.

The celebration of Indigenous talent is part of its goal to put a spotlight on Indigenous vendors, makers and musicians.

The celebration kicks off July 30 at noon, with a performance from the Dwayne LaForme Blues Band. LaForme is a member of Six Nations and Mississaugas of the Credit.

From there, the bandshell will feature more Indigenous talent, with performances from roots singer Mimi O’Bonsawin; Billboard top 40 Six Nations artist Jace Martin; singer-songwriter James Wilson; and blues virtuoso Keith Silver.

The programming will be capped off with a performance by the award-winning hip-hop pair Snotty Nose Rez Kids at 8 p.m. on the main stage.

The festival will also feature a one-day market of Indigenous makers. To include as many Indigenous vendors as possible, the Festival of Friends is offering free vendors spots to all vendors with an Indigenous background.

“We are one of Canada’s largest festivals, with tens of thousands of attendees every day,” said Robert Rakoczy. “I’m thrilled that we get to introduce Hamilton and the rest of Southern Ontario to some of the amazing Indigenous talent that’s right in our own backyard.”

Other names to look forward to at the festival include the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra’s brass quintet and headline performances from Serena Ryder, Good Bamford, Monster Truck and George Canyon.

Admission is free and the event runs rain or shine.

The festival of friends is a large outdoor music, arts and crafts festival produced annually in Hamilton at Gage Park since 1976.

It’s the largest festival of its kind in Canada.

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