Your Kingston May Festivals Guide

By Jordan Whitehouse

Kingston doesn’t really have a festivals season, per se, but the number and diversity of fests in the city definitely picks up every spring. This May, for instance, there’s National Youth Week, the HomeGrown Live Music Festival, a cask beer festival and an arts expo, to name just four. Here are the details on 10 happening throughout the month.   
 

The Juvenis Festival

Photo via The Juvenis Festival

April 29 – May 7
Citywide
This is the second year for this youth arts fest, and if the first year was any indication you’re in for a treat. The three main areas of focus are arts education, professional development and youth-curated and created arts presentations. Think musicals at The Baby Grand, a temporary art gallery in a downtown storefront, live music at Musiikki Café, films at The Screening Room, a battle of the bands at Ale House and way more. Varying prices. juvenisfestival.ca
 

National Youth Week

Kingston National Youth Week
Photo via FlickrCC: VisAustralia

May 1 – 7
The Juvenis Festival is just part of the festivities happening across Kingston for National Youth Week. The City has also organized a number of free events — many at Artillery Park —  including arts workshops, movie nights, open gym afternoons, leisure swims and even a kickboxing for beginners session. The United Way is getting in on the action too with its “Success by 6 Week” and free family-friendly activities like movies, swims, celebrity story time, moms and tots yoga, and more. Free. cityofkingston.ca, unitedwaykfla.ca
 

Kingston Potters’ Guild Spring Show and Sale

Kingston Potters’ Guild Spring Show and Sale
Photo via FlickrCC: ShenghungLin

May 4 – 7
The Tett Centre for Creativity and Learning
The Kingston Potters’ Guild turns 50 this year, making it one of the oldest pottery guilds in Ontario. Check out what the current members have been creating recently at this annual show, where you can also purchase ceramics and support a thriving local industry at the same time. Times: Thursday 5pm – 9pm, Friday 10am – 9pm, Saturday 10am – 5pm, Sunday 10am – 3pm. Free. kingstonpottersguild.com
 

HomeGrown Live Music Festival

HomeGrown Live Music Festival
Photo via TurpinsTrail

May 6
Citywide
For eight years now this one-day live music fest has been celebrating Kingston’s incredible music scene and supporting local charities and causes at the same time. Each of the 13 participating venues will feature performers in a similar genre. Sir John A’s Pub is all about folk music, for example, while at The Mansion expect psychedelic, Blu Martini rock and Musiikki electroacoustic. This year’s proceeds go to the Joe Chithalen Memorial Musical Instrument Lending Library. All-access bracelet: $10. homegrownlive.ca
 

Red House Downtown Cask Fest

Red House Downtown Cask Fest
Photo via FlickrCC: JenniferYin

May 7, 2pm – 5:30pm
Red House Downtown
Cask-conditioned beer, or “real ale” as it’s sometimes called, is unfiltered and unpasteurized beer that’s served from a cask. Because no additional nitrogen or carbon dioxide is added, it has a fresh, soft texture. Taste a few of the best made locally as well as a few bottle- and barrel-aged craft beers at this afternoon of beery good times. Featured brewers will include MacKinnon Brothers, Stone City Ales, Napanee Beer Company, Nickel Brook and more. $25 ticket includes five beer tickets and bar snacks. redhousedowntown.ca
 

The Breakout Project

The Breakout Project
Photo via The Breakout Project

May 10 – 12
Fort Henry
Part conference, part hackathon, this three-day festival will be Canada’s biggest social innovation event. Working around the clock, 10 teams will compete to raise the human and financial capital needed to kickstart social good projects designed to improve our communities, society and planet. Thousands of people are expected, including renowned speakers, experts, investors and maybe you. Sam Roberts Band will close things out with a free concert in Springer Market Square. $49 – $349. thebreakoutproject.com
 

Science Rendezvous

Science Rendezvous
Photo via FlickrCC: Queen’sUniversity

May 13, 10am – 3pm
Rogers K-Rock Centre
Though it’s known as a hockey arena, the Rogers K-Rock Centre will be transformed into a pop-up science centre for one day only. Enter the inflatable dome to experience the stars and constellations. Control a WWI Sopwith Ship Camel biplane with your body. Make a kaleidoscope. Meet scientists. Participate in an experiment or special presentation. Whatever your family’s interest in science, technology, engineering and math, there will be something to get each of you inspired by the wonders of the universe. Free. rogersk-rockcentre.com
 

Tett Arts Expo 2017

Tett Arts Expo 2017
Photo via The Tett Centre

May 13, 10am – 4 pm
The Tett Centre for Creativity and Learning
This will be one of your best chances all year to truly get a taste of what this gorgeous waterfront arts hub is all about. Home to arts organizations, studios, rental spaces, community areas and a licensed café, The Tett will open all of its doors all day to get you inspired. Meet the artists. Experience hands-on arts workshops and demos. Find beautiful, locally made creations. Browse the art gallery. Just scratch that creative itch. Free or by donation. Some workshops require registration. tettcentre.org
 

Victoria Day Celebrations

Victoria Day Celebrations
Photo via FlickrCC: BlixtA

May 22, 1pm – 9:30pm
Lake Ontario Park
Celebrate the unofficial start of summer with a full day of family-friendly fun on the waterfront capped off with fireworks. The Fire Guy will be there eating, juggling and breathing fire. The Thousand Islands Playhouse will perform “Daisy Amazed.” A zip line and obstacle course will be set up, as will inflatable bouncers and a canine obstacle course. From 6pm to 8pm look forward to live entertainment from Taylor Angus, the Jordy Jackson Band and Absolute Journey Tribute. Stay fuelled with eats from local food trucks onsite throughout the day. cityofkingston.ca
 

Art After Dark Spring 2017

Art After Dark Spring 2017
May 26, 7pm – 10pm
Downtown
Downtown Kingston is home to dozens of art galleries, and at this bi-annual nighttime festival you’ll get into 18 of them for free. Some will have special events and light refreshments, but at each you’ll have the chance to enter to win a $500 art shopping spree. Chart your gallery course using this handy map. Free. downtownkingston.ca