1. The festival was first launched in 1987 as the Peterborough Summer Festival of Lights. In 2010, the name changed to Little Lake Musicfest but rebranded as Peterborough Musicfest in 2013. Our community is so lucky to have had this free summer festival for over 30 years!
2. Fred Anderson was the founder of the festival from the start, until he passed away in 2006.
Fred Anderson at left
3. The first ever artist to perform for the festival was Canadian jazz musician Moe Koffman on July 1, 1987.
4. The concerts were setup to be held on Wednesdays and Saturdays to coincide with the Peterborough Farmers Markets to entice out-of-towners.
5. Current General Manager Tracey Randall was a college student on staff the first two years of the festival, working as part of the boat crew.
6. Over 125,000 attend the festival annually.
7. 63 percent of visitors are local but the Festival has attracted visitors from all over the world. This year, guests travelled from Texas and London, England to see Kiefer Sutherland.
Visitors from England and Texas for Kiefer
8. Musicfest generates a $4.2 million tourist boost to the region.
9. Musicfest has only two full-time year-round staff but in the summer months the team grows to 14 paid employees and over 50 volunteers!
Natalie McMaster & Donnell Leahy
10. The 60x30 foot stage is built on sawdust and landfill.
11. The stage at Del Crary Park is called the Fred Anderson Stage, named after Musicfest’s founder.
12. Today, both Federal and Provincial governments support Musicfest with grant funding, along with municipal support over the years.
13. Although the concerts are free to attend, the artists are still paid to perform. Musicfest is a non-profit organization with over 100 sponsors whose partnership dollars help cover these costs.
Walk Off The Earth
14. $54,000 was granted from Celebrate Ontario for the opening act of the 30th Anniversary Season.
15. In addition to concerts every Wednesday and Saturday, Musicfest holds a special concert on Canada Day (regardless of the day of the week). The Rotary Clubs of Peterborough and Peterborough-Kawartha continue to provide fireworks at the park on Canada Day.
16. As part of the 30th Anniversary Season in 2016, actor Kiefer Sutherland performed with his band on one of 11 Canadian stops.
17. Up until 2004, each night of the festival included fireworks and a boat light show.
18. The festival has featured a variety of entertainers over the years, including hypnotists, magicians and dancers.
19. The artist who has performed the most at Peterborough Musicfest is John McDermott with 10 appearances.
20. The largest concert in the festival's history is Gordon Lightfoot in 2001.
21. The largest concert of 2016—the 30th Anniversary Season—was Millbrook’s own Serena Ryder with an estimated 16,000 people in attendance.
Serena Ryder concert aerial
22. There have been 585 different performers over the 30 year span of the festival.
23. Some of the most talked about concerts have been Carly Rae Jepsen, Tegan and Sara, Davey Jones and Gordon Lightfoot.
Carly Rae Jepsen
24. Kim Mitchell had the highest ever 50/50 payout—and it was at a rescheduled night due to rain-out cancellation!
25. One of the iconic heritage pieces of the festival is the Centennial Fountain in Little Lake, which lights up and changes different colours every night.
26. Peterborough Musicfest won the Festival & Event Ontario (FEO) Awards in 2012 and 2015 as a Top 100 Festivals in Ontario.
27. In 1999, Fred Anderson was inducted into the Pathway of Fame. Serena Ryder, who opened the 30th Anniversary Season, was also inducted this year.
28. Volunteer Peter Rutherford is one of the longest serving volunteers with 10 years of managing festival parking. 2016 is Peter’s final year with the festival.
29. CHEX Television and The City of Peterborough have been sponsors since the beginning. Darling Insurance is also a longtime sponsor of 28 years.
30. Peterborough Musicfest is Canada’s longest free summer concert series!