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Leathertown Festival 2020 is Going Virtual this Year and Seeking Submissions

Not even a world-wide pandemic can stop Acton's Downtown BIA Leathertown Festival this year. On Saturday August 8 Leathertown will be presented as a virtual two hour variety show featuring multiple bands including many of Acton's top performers and musicians —live-streamed to the Acton Leathertown Facebook page and broadcast on Cogeco YourTV Cable channel.

Even more important, according to Event Coordinator Kim Duncanson, the Festival committee wants you and your family to be part of the event by submitting a short video clip. “Leathertown Festival is going to be more Acton focused than ever, celebrating the people that live and work in Acton,” she said. We want to create community through short little videos on up-beat subjects related to Acton. What do people love about Acton? How has life improved for you since the pandemic? Maybe people can showcase a collection, craft or talent they have, or just give a shout out to someone they know whom they haven't been able to see lately due to the pandemic.”

Submitting a video to Leathertown is “super easy,” she added. “All you have to do is make a short video clip on your I Phone or Smart Phone and share it to When we have your submission we can fit it into the longer video presentation being putting together for broadcast.”

Duncanson envisages the event to take the shape of a variety show along the lines of Saturday Night Live, involving skits, musical acts and other performances, and with personal testimonials from individuals and families. The show will be broadcast Saturday at 6-8 pm. Viewers tuning in will be encouraged to donate to, a local non-profit service agency servicing local children, families and seniors.

Duncanson and the Festival Committee have already signed nine of the musical acts for the show. “Monty Greig will be the MC, and because of the pandemic we were lucky to get Headliner Act, Practically Hip, with hometown front man Dean Hughes. Practically Hip wouldn't have been available otherwise,” Duncanson said. “We've also got Wicked Truth on board with native son and band leader Matthew Bunt. They had just returned from a successful winter tour through South-West USA and Florida when they were called home because of the Corona Virus.”

Monty Greig performing Leathertown Festival 2018 (Photo: Jason McQuaid)

Other musical acts include Acton City Limits, a local blues and R&B band containing yours truly and several notable Acton musicians, and Mill Street Blues Band featuring accomplished Acton keyboardist Barb Steed and local harmonica player Eric Schubert. Also appearing will be local award-winning song writer and musician, Promise Shepherd.

Wicked Truth performing Leathertown Festival 2018 (Photo: Jason McQuaid)

Major sponsors are already behind the effort, including

  • Cogeco

  • Scott & Kati Legge, Salespersons Royal LePage Royal City Realty, Brokerage,

  • Superior Glove

  • Acton UP.

The Leathertown Festival has been running continuously since 1992. It had just come off a very successful 2019 presentation. Furthermore, in 2020, the event was named one of the Top 100 Festivals and Events in Ontario. This looked to be another banner year before the pandemic restrictions came into effect.

But Duncanson is not daunted. “It's given us a chance to grow a little more slowly and that's a good thing,” she said. “I've been involved with the festival since 2012 and during that time the Festival has always been evolving to suit the needs of the community. There are more families here now than in 2012, so we aligned our programming to better reflect the changing demographic. When we added a childrens' headline act on Sunday we were able to double the attendance.”

The 2020 virtual Leathertown Festival is taking the event in a new direction. “We have to appreciate that many local organizations aren't meeting because of the pandemic,” she said. “This is something new in terms of getting the program out to the audience and participants we want to reach, it requires carefully targeted advertising and new and different promotions. This is definitely keeping us thinking.”


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