In downtown St. Catharines on Sunday they partied like it was … well, anytime before COVID-19.
Downtown hosted its first block party in conjunction with the Open Streets program, which will run until the end of September.
Seven local musical performances were played on Papa Tee’s mobile stage on St. Paul Street near Queen Street.
One of the planned cast, Brett Friesen, called the day incredibly great.
“We missed the importance of bringing the musical community back downtown,” he said.
“And not just during COVID,” he added. “Even before COVID, there was a lack of sympathetic collaborations to make people hear original music.
“This initiative by Particle Sound and the Downtown Association (and the Merchant Ale House) is just incredibly valued.”
Other cast members included Brody, Okay Camper, Attercliffe, Feels Collective, Casey Baker, and JIN, according to the St. Catharines Downtown Association website.
Friesen said these events are helping get people downtown, and this is helping companies that have violated COVID bans and restrictions in the past 18 months.
“It helps companies and as a musician hoping to get as many ears as possible to your music,” this is a good opportunity, he said.
For him, COVID has led to a resurgence in music creation.
“I’ve played a lot of cover gigs, but every aspect of the playing was gone,” he said.
“Even for people who have made it a lot longer than me not to be out there – a piece of your soul was missing when you didn’t have that opportunity. You can play in your basement and post it on Instagram, but it’s definitely not the same.
“It’s the idea of local tunes and local brews. It’s a great reminder of what we missed, ”he said.
Bree Eeues and Corey Sutherland repeated the feelings, saying people were hungry to come out and be part of the community again.
“To take in everything, to see how the world opens up again,” said Eeues.
Open Streets will take place in downtown St. Catharines on Fridays and Saturdays from 4pm to 11pm and on Sundays from 11am to 6pm until the end of September.