The pandemic presents opportunities for creativity on the Ave

Although festivals have been cancelled until later this year, the news isn’t all bad with some productions still scheduled to bring arts and fun to the community.

Some organizers have chosen to cancel or postpone their main production until next year, while others are developing ideas that still entertain and contribute to the community.

This year’s Kaleido On Tour is slated to go forward from Sept. 11-13 with unique ideas for bringing the spirit of the arts to the people despite social isolation. Christy Morin, artistic director, says, “We are busier than we have ever been at this time of year [May 8, 2020]. Our team is super ambitious. I am excited by their energy to continue.”

Delroy Parr (a.k.a. Singin’ D) and Daddy H are Edmonton reggae artists and co-organizers of the Edmonton Reggae Festival. | Tekla Luchenski

Volunteers are working hard to “create Kaleido On Tour to be something beautiful and meaningful. We want to continue to bring wonder, hope, happiness, life, and care to the community.” Morin emphasizes that “Kaleido On Tour is very experimental.” 

With a theme of “Here Comes the Sun”, the roving production will include flatbed trucks moving throughout the community. Kaleido On Tour could also be stretched out over time, with smaller community interactions that entertain and delight, such as a lantern parade that will go into residential streets rather than 118 Avenue. Arts on the Ave has been hosting creative online events, including the ongoing Virtual Garage Sale. She adds that Chalk It Up is set for July. They are planning a lantern-making workshop, to be announced closer to August or September. Morin muses, “There might be some magical inspiration that comes out of this for the years to come.” 

Kaleido On Tour organizers are planning a lantern-making workshop. | Epic Photography

Muttstock was scheduled to take place in a new location at Elmwood Park Community League. It had outgrown its former Eastwood location. Unfortunately, organizers cancelled the July date. The logistics of expanding during the pandemic lockdown were too great. “It was just bad timing,” says Anjie Robinson, president and founder of Muttstock. 

Robinson’s Muttstock team is not giving up. Incorporated as a non-profit, their mandate is to fundraise for Edmonton-area animal rescues and welfare organizations. “Last year, we exceeded our goal of $12,000 by raising $13,148,” she says. “We’re kind of a big deal, but we’re humbled by it. We try to maintain our grassroots mentality.” Still, Muttstock’s contribution to animal welfare is important. They help keep animals from being euthanized and they contribute to the Boyle Street Pet Food Bank. 

Volunteers are a huge part of Kaleido On Tour. | Epic Photography

Muttstock has held virtual fundraisers since lockdown began, including a canine-only online exercise class and a paint party on Zoom. They will continue to hold events and look forward to next year’s major event.

There will be changes to Kaleido On Tour this year, with it becoming a roving production. | Epic Photography

The Edmonton Reggae Festival (ERFS) was scheduled to relaunch on Aug. 22 with excitement about its relocation to Alberta Avenue Community League for 2020 but will be postponed to 2021. Organizers look forward to bringing reggae music to the Ave and promoting local talent, as well as international performers. Kevin Simpson, vice president of the ERFS says, “We would like to figure out how we can get out there to share reggae music and to look after each other.” 

This year, Kaleido on Tour will roam the neighbourhoods. | Epic Photography

They already have an exciting headliner for next year’s show and they look forward to building community.

COVID-19 may slow us down, but it also gives us an opportunity to adapt and create. Contact the organizations below for ways to help, either with time or by donation. 

Kaleido On Tour



Edmonton Reggae Festival

Kevin Simpson

Featured Image: Arts on the Ave’s productions have become a family tradition in Edmonton. | Epic Photography