This year at JUNOfest, The Strumbellas delivered something a little different – an afternoon rock show for kids. Knowing that my 2 boys like them, I grabbed tickets as soon as they were available, so I could share a concert experience with them.
I had no idea how many kids to expect at the show. Would all the tickets be snatched up by diehard Strumbellas fans like myself?
Walking into the Bronson Centre, it was clear right away that there were A LOT of kids at this show. There were a lot of parents like myself who were happy to take in an afternoon show with their kids, maybe for the first time, without the worry of hiring a sitter.
While there were some kids standing up front with their parents, most had arrived early to fill up the seats. I’m guessing some parents wanted to try and keep the kids somewhat contained for the hour long performance.
Normally most people would stand for a show at the Bronson Centre, but thankfully on this day, everyone remained seated so that the kids could actually see the show.
Front man Simon Ward did his best to give the kids the arena rock show experience. At one point, he urged everyone under 16 to scream as loud as they could. The kids did a pretty good job. When he asked everyone over 16 to yell, he was quick to joke that, “I see you’re the kind of parents that don’t always let your kids win!”
The majority of the band’s set consisted of songs off their breakthrough album Hope. My boys were happy to hear all of the singles – Spirits, We Don’t Know and Young & Wild. I was glad to hear them work in a few of my older favorites including Rhinestone, The Sheriff and Sailing.
The band ended their set with Spirits, which would later win single of the year that evening. After thanking the audience for coming, the band left the stage and the house lights came on. Many started to leave, but then some people started banging on the stage, stomping their feet and chanting “One more song!”. And it grew from there.
After a few minutes, The Strumbellas came back on stage. Simon thanked the crowd that remained for the opportunity to do a real encore (unlike the staged ones that are typical of shows now). The band belted out Home Sweet Home giving the audience one more song.
It was awesome being able to share this experience with my family. I hope it becomes something that happens every year at JUNOfest. I know my boys were thrilled to see the show.