Justin Rutledge Plays Junction Arts Festival

Junction Arts Festival Welcomes Justin Rutledge

The Junction Arts Festival, in it's 16th year and running through Sunday, showcased Junction native Justin Rutledge Friday night and welcomes multi award winner David Usher tonight. Galleries are set up in local businesses throughout the one kilometre stretch of Dundas between Keele and Quebec.

The arts programming features Canadians and Torontonians alike, and is worth a visit on its own. The festival, expanded to five days this year with art, music, movies and more, showcases a variety of homegrown - Junction - musicians.

Friday night's headliner Justin Rutledge drew both locals and loyal followers alike, and the free David Usher show tonight promises to bring an even fuller house.

Samantha Martin, another Junctionite, filled the seats before Rutledge took the stage, but it was standing room only for the headlining act. Rutledge's set was a mix of new songs and crowd favourites, and it was obvious that festival regulars were there to enjoy the music while Rutledge followers were there to sing along and watch their performer up close.

Rutledge engaged the crowd, recalling memories from growing up on Clendenan, a few blocks from the stage, and greeted his parents and sister, who were in the audience. His soulful tunes lent themselves well to the cool evening and his local boy story was fitting to be the headliner on the stage's opening night.

The juried art exhibition continues through Sunday, and many of the exhibits will be on display beyond the weekend, although opening times will be limited to normal business hours; tonight they will be open until at least 9pm.

The arts festival expects to draw at least 150,000 people over its five day run, and indeed it is a destination event, but still retains a fiercely proud neighbourhood vibe.


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