A Celebration of Music
“For a $75 ticket, it’s an incredible value. When we first released tickets this year we saw a large volume being purchased out of California. With the current exchange rate the value is even better.”
The festival celebrates all genres of great music, with country fans excited for performances by award-winning artists including Canada’s Terri Clark, and Nashville-based group Lonestar. The next generation of growth is expected to be helped by social media, a marketing vehicle Rusak has tagged as an important asset in their promotion mix.
As a destination event on the calendar of hundreds of the thousands of music fans across North America and the world, the festival has plans for a new wave of merchandise to celebrate its historical growth and to reach fans of all levels. Design plans are ongoing for a mix of branded materials that will reintroduce classic concert fanfare including T-shirts and mugs, as well as family fun items like air-play guitars.
Myles Rusak is the new director of the Sound of Music Festival in Burlington, Ontario.
Hear his full interview on the #BeyondThePrint podcast. How has the community built the SOM brand, what is the coolest festival merchandise, and what are the plans for the continued growth of Canada's largest free music festival.
Stepping into a restaurant for a meeting, the new director of the Sound of Music Festival is served a cold beverage on a unique rubber coaster. He removes the glass to inspect it further because the brand in the centre caught his eye. The coaster resembles a classic vinyl record, and the brand is that of Canada’s largest free music festival, the event he is now responsible for. “When did we do this?” he asks the server. “They’re cool!”
“You didn’t,” she responds. “We did.”
What started as a community celebration to recognize the accomplishment of their local marching band has evolved these past 40 years to the country’s largest not-for-profit music event. Myles Rusak, preparing to helm his first Sound of Music festival and one of the largest planned celebrations yet, points to the Burlington community as a driving force behind the week-long event.
““We have over 1,000 local volunteers—the Red Shirts as we call them—who come together to make this event possible. Some of them have been with us for over 25 years. About 16 committees, each headed by a volunteer, make up the planning team. And the local businesses are fantastic supporters as well. It is incredible to see the signage—and products—that they are creating to promote this event through the year.”
Collectibles, Merchandise and Keepsakes
Asking Rusak about his favourite concert merchandise, he says, “I’ve got a lot of beer koozies. It’s a low-cost item that I may never use, but I’ve got a collection with brands from bands I’ve seen and concerts I’ve been to. It’s an easy fit.”
Come concert time, the city of Burlington may be an exciting adventure of discovery if you’re looking for unique Sound of Music swag. The brand, like the event, is shared by the community. Want to know what Rusak’s most sought after concert keepsake is? Find that story and more, including the vision for the future of Sound of Music and the impact of music on mental health, in the #BeyondThe Print podcast
The 40th Edition
The 2019 event is scheduled to kick off June 8 by the Burlington Waterfront. This year, as the festival celebrates its 40th anniversary, attendance is expected to rise to over 200,000. In its second generation, the festival has a long history of merchandise that can often be found on walls, desks and counters in the community.
The festival is best known for its free shows, highlighting local, national and international talents. Recently the event introduced a ticketed show as well, attracting largely recognized recording artists to headline. Nineties rock bands Live, Bush and The Headstones will be joined by Hamilton-based heavy rock group Monster Truck and other supporting talents on the event card for this year’s show.
The timing is expected to attract quite the party as both Live and Bush celebrate the 25th anniversary of their 1994 landmark albums Throwing Copper and Sixteen Stone, respectively, combining for more than 20 million albums sold.