I Heart Hamilton’s Best Of 2016
Although it’s important to keep moving forward and being in the now, it’s always fun to reflect on the year as we roll into the next. It means a lot to still be documenting my local adventures on the blog and I hope it continues to inspire people to support all things local, and to get out there and try new things.
Some of my personal highlights of year…
I Heart Hamilton’s 5th Anniversary
I celebrate the blog’s anniversary every year (May 1st!) and I’m so proud that in years in previous I’ve booked amazing lineups at This Ain’t Hollywood and donated the proceeds to local causes like Food4Kids.
This year, with a busier work schedule I didn’t book any shows this year, but I knew I had to celebrate in style. Huge thanks to Chef Manny Ferreira and everyone at Mezcal TNT for dedicating one of their weekly Sunday Socials to I Heart Hamilton. Manny whipped up a killer menu inspired by Hamilton icons, we drank tequila, we sang karaoke! This year also saw the 1 year anniversary of Mezcal, and trust that I also drank tequila and sang karaoke at their big bash.
Hamilton Music Awards
I didn’t get to properly blog the HMA’s again this year, but it’s always a super fun weekend that brings together so many local musicians, venues, and industry folk.
I was humbled to be up for two awards including Media Person of the Year, and so thrilled for I Heart Hamilton’s win for Website/Online Publication of the Year. I love being part of this scene!
I look forward to Supercrawl more than anything else – this weekend is my ultimate fave and one of the best in Hamilton. The festival celebrated its 8th year and it was my 6th time attending and covering it. Lisa Vuyk has been an incredible contributor to I Heart Hamilton with her photography for a second year now, and we had a blast tackling it all.
Performance highlights for me: Junior Boys, The Reason, Fast Romantics, Dear Rouge, WTCHS, The Medicine Hat with the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, Hamilton Youth Poets, Illitry.
I also had a blast sitting in on 93.3 CFMU‘s live-to-air broadcast.
This year I celebrated three years of my show on 93.3 CFMU. I’m very thankful to be part of CFMU – it has given me opportunities to meet so many people and promote the city even more.
Highlights of the year on CFMU:
- 3 Supercrawl themed episodes featuring Fast Romantics, Jennifer Budd, Egyprtixx, Jeremy Greenspan of Junior Boys, Hamilton Youth Poets, Andrew Baulcomb, The Reason, Mother Tareka, L.A. West
- Interview with Kyle Fisher of The Dirty Nil about their first full length album Higher Power
- First radio interview for Persons
- Interview with Donovan Woods
- Special two-hour show including live performance by Jennifer Budd
- Live performances by illusionists The Sentimentalists, magician Brandon Love, the cast of Hamilton Theatre Inc’s HAIR, Laura Cole & Harvey Summers
- Fun interviews with so many local comics including Mayce Galoni, Anthony Mlekuz, Manolis Zontanos. Patrick Coppolino, Zak McDonald
- Third Live-To-Air broadcast from Gore Park featuring Matt Berninger of The National and their manager Brandon Reid, Max Kerman of Arkells, CoMotion On King, SoulSessions, Homegrown Hamilton, YWCA Hamilton, Billy Moon, Wesley Urban
Welcome To Hamilton
Oh, right, I just casually mentioned that I met and interviewed Matt Berninger of The National!! This was surreal and my favourite moment of 2016. The National’s manager Brandon Reid, a Hamilton native and current resident, spearheaded a fantastic event called Welcome To Hamilton along with Sonic Unyon, a benefit show to help Syrian refugee youth. The show at New Vision United Church featured The National, Arkells (Max, Anthony, and Mike), Mother Tareka, Terra Lightfoot, Crystal Journey, Hayden, and Kevin Drew. It was an unreal show.
- It was the best vocal I’ve ever heard from Max Kerman of Arkells – hearing “My Heart’s Always Yours” acoustic gave me chills
- Hayden’s rendition of The Hip’s “Ahead By A Century”: the first few notes took the audience a second to understand what song it was, and then there was this incredible moment of realization, and a collective intake of breath. I heard a man behind me let out a very pronounced: “Ohh my God.” Just utter disbelief and gratefulness that we were hearing this. The song ended Hayden’s set and was met with an instant standing ovation.
- The National opened with “Bloodbuzz Ohio” and I instantly knew it was going to be a live performance I can count on one hand as being one of the most moving and memorable I would ever witness. Getting to see this band live was massive for me, and means more than I can say. But beyond the personal impact, look at the impact it had on our community. When a band of that calibre could use their position to get people to this show, and in turn support so many people who need our help right now, it was incredible.
The National set list:
I Need My Girl
Hague Blue (“Sometimes I Don’t Think”)
The Day I Die
Encore: Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks
I have to say thank you again to Brandon Reid for being so awesome and for setting up my interview with Matt, as well as inviting me out to the sound check. Matt was so kind and generous in his interview with me and I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity. I don’t know how I can top this!
Although I’ve known so many of these guys and gals for a few years now, this year I really made it a point to explore and showcase Hamilton’s comedy scene. We have so much talent in Hamilton and there are more local comics working the circuit and more rooms to catch comedy than ever before. (Check out my column on Tourism Hamilton for a rundown of some of them). Not only have I had a blast seeing them perform, many have become awesome friends to me too. I also got to be a guest judge this year at the Go Yuk Yourself competition at Yuk Yuk’s.
I always like to dedicate a good chunk of time to treat yo self during birthday month! Inspired by my friend Chanry Thach (The Hungry Gnome) who does an epic #CHANtober, I created #KApril and filled the month with local adventures. The day of, I went on my third annual Birthday Tour around this city with Chanry as my partner in crime. We hit Cannon Coffee, Gage Park greenhouse, Uli’s Stairs on the escarpment, Albion Falls, shopping on Locke Street, Brux House, and The Mule. If you haven’t done a birthday tour for yourself – I highly recommend it!
Hamilton keeps me so crazy busy. But when I get the chance to venture out, I really enjoy little breaks away. This year saw some awesome Toronto day/night trips, a few days in Ottawa, and my very first trip to Montreal with dear friends. Here’s to more road trippin’ in 2017!
I was fortunate to give two tours this summer. In August, I was one of the guides in charge of leading a group of Toronto influencers (as part of Travel Massive) around James North on a steamy day to talk up its incredible scene and promote Supercrawl. Big thanks to Supercrawl and Tourism Hamilton for having me!
Later that month, my friend Thomas Allen (Rebuild Hamilton) and I resumed our duties as tour guides for first year McMaster students. I hope Tom and I can continue this tradition each year!
I’m always so grateful for the community of bloggers/influencers I hang out with, and the friendships that have formed over the years. From the original group of bloggers (the OG crew, as we affectionately call ourselves) to the foodies, I’ve shared so many good times and laughs.
A big highlight was Sid Friedman‘s epic birthday bash with Erin Dunham at Digital Canaries, and of course, a blogger wedding! Chanry (The Hungry Gnome) tied the knot in a surprise ceremony (which they pulled together in 24 hours!) in their backyard. We were invited mere hours before and it was the absolute sweetest thing. Chanry and her husband Matt now ventured off to Calgary on Dec. 31st and although I am so excited for their next chapter, I cannot wait until they come back to visit!
Happy New Year, everyone! Cheers to more exciting things for Hamilton in 2017 ❤️