In the Soil is just over a week away! If you’re having trouble planning all the ins and outs of your festival weekend (with over 150 things to see and do, honestly, who’d blame you?) the founders and organizers of In the Soil have shared their top fest picks for 2017:

Annie Wilson, Co-founder / Artistic Producer
Pick: Festival Launch

Annie with Brittany Brooks

I’m most excited for the Festival Launch because our good friends from The Woodshed Orchestra will share a special performance of their album Guest Book and feature a heaping group of talent, including a cameo from my dear pals Brittany Brooks and Aaron Berger. Launching begins at 5:30pm!


Joe Lapinski, Co-founder / Musical Director
Pick: The Rheostatics

The first time I saw The Rheos were back in 1993, at the Hideaway in North St. Catharines.  To say the least, it was a life-changing moment for me on many levels.  Guitars that sounds like whales? A drummer playing indie-rock, but could easily be transplanted into a Thelonious Monk inspired jazz act? Punk-rock meets Prog-rock meets The Beach Boys?  Songs about the ‘burbs and being Canadian? YES PLEASE!  You too can live a moment like that, with the original line-up of the band.  The Festival Hub Stage, Friday 28 April, 9:30pm.  FREEEEE!


Sara Palmieri, Co-founder / Collaborator
Pick: Saturday Morning at the Hub

After all these years of being part of In the Soil, it’s hard to just pick one event. The joy of the festival is in the surprise of coming across something that you weren’t expecting. One thing I always love is Saturday mornings – free yoga with the lovely Tracy Duru from Moksha Yoga with the music of Dr. Khan on tabla (it wouldn’t be Soil without Dr. Khan). Plus I love the massive band parade that kicks off at the Library – always puts a smile on my face to see all ages, getting musically pumped for the day ahead!

Natasha Pedros, Co-founder / Visuals + Collaborator

Watching RHIZOMES grow from that first year at the Old Courthouse in 2014 has been amazing. Before we launched RHIZOMES, Dee, Annie, Sara and I travelled to Ottawa to collaborate with our friends at FixtPoint to present a multi-media performance piece called Stor(y)age at Subdevision (part of the 2013 Magnetic North Theatre Festival). We were so excited by the format and the experience, we had to adapt if for Soil. I love seeing how each artist responds to the challenge of transforming a space. It’s the best opportunity to see a range of surprising work, and to explore one of the remarkable new buildings in our downtown.


Alex Brown, FOG Manager + Administration
Pick: Rob and Edwin Go to the Bottom of the Sea

Rob and Edwin Go to the Bottom of the Sea is my pick of the year! I am so excited to see this silly and fun sequel to last year’s adventure in space. Buds Rob and Ed crash land in the ocean on their way back from space and they have to rebuild their space ship into a submarine. On their adventure they meet ancient peoples and cowboys and visit the old town of Atlantis. Last year was so hilarious I almost peed my pants. I can’t wait to hear their new songs and laugh uncontrollably again. Check it out at the Oddfellows on Friday at 9pm or Sunday at 2pm.




Rebecca Walsh, Hub Manager
Pick: My Son the Hurricane

My pick of this year’s fest is My Son the Hurricane. Love LOVE their groove and energy. Last time I saw them it was such a dancy, sweaty, bouncy experience and I can’t wait for them to blow the roof off the tent at the Hub this year. Will totally be worth chasing the tent down the street. They are headlining the The Hub on Saturday @ 9pm.





Anah Shabbar, Volunteer Manager / Collaborator
Pick: The Ferns

My pick of the 2017 Festival is……… The Ferns !!! Back in 2012 Kurt, Luke, Duncan and Dave were members in a band called The Bends and played at our Rock n Roll Brunch. Now, five years later, they bring a new sound to In the Soil under the name The Ferns. We often get the chance to see artists grow and develop alongside the Festival and seeing the transition of these young dudes from The Bends to The Ferns is one of my favourite examples.  Don’t miss their performance Saturday Night at 10pm in my fave festival venue: Oddfellows Union Lodge.


Johnny Cann, Technical Director
Pick: Let’s Try This Standing

LET’S TRY THIS STANDING! Gillian Clark is one of my favourite emerging theatre artists from Nova Scotia. Her work is engaging, filled with charm and vulnerability. In Let’s Try This Standing, Gillian’s storytelling is set against a lush background of projections that makes for a solo show experience like no other. Trust me, you will not want to miss this show. This is not just my East Coast bias.




Hayley Malouin, Blog + Social Media
Pick: MSM [men seeking men]

I am so excited for MSM [men seeking men] I might cry before it even starts. Being surrounded by such an incredible and loving arts community, it’s hard to remember sometimes that the wider Niagara region isn’t necessarily as accepting of difference. There are a lot of isolated people in the area for whom this project can be a chance to see themselves reflected onstage, and for others it’s a chance to see into the lives of a community that is marginalized – in this region and others. For me, that’s what art and theatre are about: building community, celebrating difference, and getting to laugh and cry along the way. I’m so pumped.


Deanna Jones, Co-founder / Artistic Director
Pick: The Whole Thing!

My pick is the whole festival! Do it all. Drop in and out of RHIZOMES each day. See a wild and funny musical, Making Love in a Canoe. Catch Bruce McCulloch!  Bop in and out of the Merchant Ale House and see over 20 bands. Go see Men Seeking Men and then walk down to the NAC to dance your bliss into the night! Go to the Central Library Saturday morning with your kids, nephews/nieces, young friends and watch a hilarious acrobatic duo search for dinosaurs. Make seed bombs for your garden! Walk through a cardboard dragon! See Re:Current Theatre’s, This is What I Know at Oddfellows Temple. Stop by Mahtay and listen to literary artists speak their words while sitting “underwater” in an installation by Mackenzie, Lepp and Ring. Go on – get a festival pass and take in as much as you can. It really is going to be a wonderful weekend. I can’t wait.

Make sure to get your festival pass – available at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre box office – and join us at The Hub Friday night for festival launch!