Previewing Kitchener’s KOI Music Festival

By Amrit Sandhu

KOI Music Fest is back and making it’s mark in the GTA once more. KOI Music Fest started in 2010 by brothers and musicians Curt and Cory Crossman from Kitchener, Ontario and has happened every year since. This year KOI Music Fest is happening on September 25-27 in downtown Kitchener.  The full artist lineup as been announced which showcases Canadian acts as well as some international acts. Bands like The Ataris, AURAS, illScarlet, Bitter Kids, Isotopes, Curses, Hawthorn Heights, August Burns Red, Trophy Wives, I SEE STARS are scheduled to appear,.

Acts to look out for:

The Ataris

Last time I heard of this band I was in high school and I’m glad they are doing this festival. The Ataris started out as a punk band in 1997 from Anderson, Indiana and since then they have skyrocketed to touring around the world. Their Don Henley cover “Boys of Summer” became one of the most amazing covers. Currently composed of Kristopher Roe, Bryan Nelson, Thomas Holst, and Nick Turner, these men have changed what pop punk meant with their classic album So Long, Astoria. Since 2013, The Ataris began a North American tour to celebrate their most successful the album with the original members from that era.


Local heroes, illScarlett, (Mississauga) infuse rock and reggae to become something magical. They have been making waves in the music industry since 2005. Consisting of Alex Norman, Swavek Piorkowski, Will Marr, and CJ Hinds, this band was discovered by showing up outside Warped Tour and playing in the parking lot. This got the attention of  founder Kevin Lymon, who invited them to play the afterparty. They nailed it and have been riding the waves of it ever since. Their newest album is a self-titled affair.

August Burn Red

Starting in 2003, this metalcore band from Manheim, Pennsylvania, have been causing a storm since their album debut. Consisting of JB Brubaker, Brent Rambler, Matt Griner, Jake Luhrs and Dustin Davidson, these boys keep pushing boundaries. Working with names such as Jeremy McKinnon from A Day To Remember, August Burns Red keeps on getting bigger. Their newest album (their seventh), Found in Far Away Places has won acclaim from both music critics and fans. Shooting up the charts to #1 in multiple Billboard charts (Top Rock Albums, Independent Albums, Top Hard Rock Albums) August Burns Red continues to be a force to be reckoned with.


This electronicore band hails from just over the border in Warren, Michigan. The current line up consists ofBrent Allen, Jimmy Gregerson, Zach Johnson, Devlin Oliver, Andrew Oliver and Jeff Valentine. This band has been turning heads since the formation of the band due to the unique style of music. They have been touring throughout North America since the release of their last album, New Demons. Their track “Murder Mitten” has been shooting up the alternative charts and with close to six million views on youtube, this band has only just started.

This year KOI Music Fest will include “The KOI Battle” which will feature local bands competing for an opportunity to perform on the main stage at KOI Music Fest. New this year is “The Road to KOI,” a lead up tour that follows KOI artists’ journeys to the festival. The Acoustic Brunch series will return, featuring main stage bands playing intimate acoustic sets over breakfast. Sounds cool right?

KOI Music Fest currently has single day tickets and weekend passes available. Please not that the weekend passes do not include admittance to the Acoustic Brunch series. You can buy them here. To view the full list of artists performing, go here.


Official Website

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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