While students were tirelessly tinkering into the evening at Hack the North, down the street at Maxwell’s Concerts & Events the night was alive for a very different type of experience. The Kitchener Ontario Independent Music Festival, or KOI Fest for short, destroyed eardrums with a heavy lineup of hard rock, punk, and metal bands from throughout Southern Ontario, as well as a smattering of talent from further afield like Alabama’s Gideon and Manitoba’s Comeback Kid. Performers from Kitchener, Waterloo, Toronto, Burlington, Hamilton, London, and New York astounded the crowd with both old classics and potential hits from new albums and left the crowd reeling.

Stretching from the evening of Friday Sept. 15 to Saturday Sept. 16 at almost midnight, the two-day festival featured two indoor stages and a total of twenty-one bands. Although a variety of subgenres were represented among the attending musicians, all the bands had one thing in common: they rocked tremendously hard.

Throughout the festival, a recurring theme in comments from bands and organizers alike was that the K-W region has a healthy independent music scene that needs to be “supported” and “cherished.” If the KOI Music Fest continues to be there for the community, the future looks bright indeed for supporters of local music.


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