Entertainment / Kemptville / Leeds Grenville / Music / What To Do

Kemptville To Rock The Region This July

Karen Bedard and Bob Besharah, Co-Founders & Producers, Kemptville LIVE Music Festival

By MAGGIE M, Wedgee-in-Chief, Editor, the wedge.LIVE 🖤 TO SHARE click icons at story’s end

It was September 2014 when Bob Besharah, owner of Class Axe Guitars, Kemptville, made a phone call to his friend, Karen Bedard, while she visited New Brunswick. This moment, a discussion about the creation of a music festival in Kemptville, was the genesis of what is today the biggest annual event in the idyllic town.

2015 was the year that Kemptville LIVE Music Festival opened to the public headlining Tom Cochrane. 2018 will be its fourth and perhaps the best year yet. Already, many classes of tickets are sold out.

“We are made in Kemptville,” says Bedard. “We’re not a foreign production company typically behind big concerts.” It is impressive that this duo, both retailers-by-day, have been successful producing an event of this scale. It seems they have every detail covered and are handling it all in stride. Security, emergency services, foodservice, accommodations, ticketing, sponsors, volunteers and of course, star management–Bedard discussed all these touchpoints with ease.

Burton Cummings and band take a bow to large audience, Kemptville LIVE Music Festival 2017

Gordon Lightfoot performing, Kemptville Live Music Festival 2017

Last year, Burton Cummings, Gordon Lightfoot and Dwight Yoakam were the big headliners. Cummings was reportedly moved by the size and response of the audience. “Seven thousand!” Bedard qualified. The weekend wrap-up numbers reached 17,000.

Visitors come from as far as Australia, Germany, US and across Canada. Today, volunteers have swelled to 300 to meet the needs of an event of this scale.

The event is held at the expansive former site of the picturesque, Kemptville Agricultural College. Guests can camp or pull up their RV on the five soccer fields next to the event. All services are present for a comfortable stay. For those looking for hotel accommodation, the nearest would be Nepean, Smiths Falls and Brockville.

This year the numbers are expected to be the highest so far. The event runs from Thursday, July 19th to Sunday, July 22nd–that’s four days. Headlining are, The Beach Boys, Loverboy, Jann Arden and Downchild Blues Band. Kim Mitchell, Trooper, Terry Tufts populate a hefty line-up of 18 big names. Bedard dubs them collectively, “more blues and rock, than country.”

Imagine hearing “Turn Me Loose,” from the original voices we heard almost fourty years ago, Loverboy themselves. Pre-dating them, “I get around,” “Fun Fun Fun,” or “Help Me Rhonda,” sung by The Beach Boys themselves should be a profound experience for boomers. Finish off with  Canada’s darling, Jann Arden, a prodigious talent (and unrequited comedian).

Jann Arden performs at 2018 Kemptville LIVE Music Festival, Ontario, Canada

Loverboy performs at 2018 Kemptville LIVE Music Festival, Ontario, Canada

The Beach Boys perform at 2018 Kemptville LIVE Music Festival, Ontario, Canada

Trooper perform at 2018 Kemptville LIVE Music Festival, Ontario, Canada

Visit the Kemptville LIVE Music Festival website for more info and tickets.


This little town South of Ottawa has a population 3,911. It dates back to the early 1800s, established by the founding of a saw mill. Plenty of historical highlights downtown buttress its modernity on the main road.

It features three new roundabouts which make it interesting to navigate. It’s like a mini Paris. Apparently they are working on a fourth. This is one of its claims-to-fame, “more roundabouts per capita than any place in Canada.” This is my epithet, but they could run with it.

A tributary of the Rideau River runs through Old Town Kemptville. This is always a signpost for historical value and charm, and the town has plenty of it.

This July expect to see more selfies with the famous and more crowds than ever in its photographic history.

Old Town Kemptville, Ontario, Canada

Kayaking in Kemptville, Ontario, Canada

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