The night was young, and the air was thick with anticipation: artists and musicians were scattered amongst the bar inside, some preparing for soundchecks and awaiting release of varying blends of soundscapes threatening to knock Sarnia off its feet.
As I approach the door, I can’t help but feel the excitement that comes with entering space that will soon be filled with frenzied guitars, pounding drums, and long-awaited experiences of sound and sensation that can only be brought about by the underground.
My destination: Empty Fest. Held across two different venues, there are two stages at The Refined Fool to kick it off and one at Maud’s for the final night. As I make my way through the doors I watch people start trickling in to turn on, tune in, and vibe out. I’m here to document and experience the world of Sarnia’s longest running independent music festival. As the sun sets and the bands begin to play, I’m transported to a different plane of existence. I can feel the electricity in the air as I move through the crowd with a camera, approaching the keys to unlocking the psychedelic depths of my soul: independent music.
The weekend is full of eclectic sounds, dreamy melodies, fog, lights, projected artscapes, ethereal vocals, raw intensity, festival goers lost in trips and trances, and wild and beautiful artists pouring their hearts and souls into their songs.
I’m left with a sense of euphoria from the depth of energy, frequency, and vibration shared by these musical masterminds and those I’m surrounded by; the misfits, the rebels, the lovers and dreamers, united by the shared love of music, and the culture that creates it.