Southwestern Ontario’s ‘Goodest’ Festival around the corner, set to cap off festive summer with celebration of local greatness

The Festival of Good Things is happening August 31, 2013, in Sarnia-Lambton, billed as "Southwestern Ontario's Goodest Festival."
The Festival of Good Things is happening August 31, 2013, in Sarnia-Lambton, billed as Southwestern Ontario's Goodest Festival.
The Festival of Good Things happening August 31, 2013, in Sarnia-Lambton, billed as Southwestern Ontario’s “Goodest” Festival.

Mark your calendars and let the countdown begin – one week, two days to be exact – for nothing less than what’s being billed a revolution to “specifically promote the good community we find ourselves in,” with a “new kind of annual festival” set to wind Sarnia-Lambton’s prominent summer festival season and celebrate the greatness that is Lambton County.

Slated for Aug. 31 and aptly coined Festival of Good Things, this new annual celebration is all about community and, specifically in ours, it’s about bringing together Sarnia’s notorious blue collar work ethic with its notable white collar beaches and unparalleled natural charm.

On Apr. 1, the organizers of, what’s also being called Southwestern Ontario’s Goodest Festival, began reaching out to those people and organizations in the community who are actively engaged in making our corner of the world a better, more beautiful place, giving them all a platform to come together and meet face to face, in a festive, entertaining fashion, and an opportunity to exhibit themselves in a creative way.

A veritable Indiefest of independent music  in its own right, the Festival of Good Things’ live entertainment lineup of bands – ten in total during the day, defining a range of genres – is a who’s who of Canadian indie bands, two of which claim to be too indie to have a website or online presence, including Born Ruffians, Grey Kingdom, Wilderness of Manitoba, Creature Speak, In the End We Dance, SM, Dorothy’s Hazarai, Safe as Houses, Horseless Headman, and The Woodlands.

And, that’s only the free – that’s right, free – daytime slate of entertainment that will be from noon until 6 p.m. – the evening queue starts at 7 p.m. and includes some truly world-class Canadian talent.

On tap for the evening bill – at a better than reasonable ticket cost of $39.55 (taxes included) – are some of the nations most enduring and, in the case of Dave Russel & The Precious Stones, fastest rising bands including perennial favorites and tenured rockers The Strumbellas and Joel Plaskett Emergency.

A Toronto-bred six-piece country/indie rock band with shades of gospel, JUNO nominees The Strumbellas have slowly been fostering a signature sound since forming in 2006 – a sound that’s been ingrained and favored around here this summer having played at Sarnia Artwalk two months ago and slated to play twice more this month – once this Friday, Aug. 23, when they open for the Sheepdogs at Summer Never Ends and then again at Festival of Good Things when they open for Joel Plaskett Emergency.

Internationally acclaimed Canadian singer-songwriter Joel Plaskett, considered one of the world’s innovative, prolific and most enduring songwriters, has countless awards, thousands of tour dates, and numerous recording and producing credits under his creative belt, both as a soloist and a member of The Emergency.

The Emergency – made up of lead vocalist and guitarist Joel Plaskett, percussionist Dave Marsh, and bassist Chris Pennell – begets a unique urban alternative rock sound that’s engaged listeners the world over, consistently exciting and inspiring audiences, in venues big and small, across three continents often touring with other veteran Canadian music legends like The Tragically Hip and Sloan.

It’s hard to believe that, with that all-day lineup of live entertainment, the music provides a formidable backdrop to highlight a hotly anticipated wakeboarding competition on the bay, many vendors and booths representing local businesses, people and organizations that are committed to making Sarnia-Lambton great for all of us, a craft beer festival for those with a more refined palette showcasing Ontario’s finest craft beers, and a fundraiser volleyball tournament (taking place almost a week earlier at Hiawatha Horse Park).

It should be noted that the fundraiser volleyball tournament is happening almost a week prior to the festival, set for this Sunday, Aug. 25, at Hiawatha Horse Park. More details can be found here.

For more information on the musical lineup slated for the all-day long event or about any of the other great things going on with The Festival of Good Things including the community workshops being offered, please click on any of the links provided in this story or visit the festival’s official website.

Southwestern Ontario’s Goodest Festival is slated for Aug. 31 from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.

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