Lakeside Live organizers request more city funding for festival’s second year

By Serena Austin
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Kenora Miner and News

Last summer, Dominique Loewen and two of his friends, turned business partners, brought their love of EDM music to Kenora with the first ever Lakeside Live music festival. This summer, they have bigger things planned and have requested funding from the city to help make it happen.  

Loewen spoke to city council and staff at last month’s committee of the whole meeting, where he requested $10,000 in funding for the festival, and brought up a discrepancy in how the city plans to allocate funding for local events.  

Back in March, the city announced that it had allocated $35,000 from the Municipal Accommodation Tax (MAT) for its new special events grant. The grant gives applicants up to $5,000 in funding for events happening in Kenora between this June and the end of next May.  

However, earlier in the year, the city had already agreed to fund Shake the Lake, another musical festival meant to replace Harbourfest set to take place the weekend after Lakeside Live, to the tune of $20,000. This leaves only $15,000 in funding for other events, and based on the special events grant’s cap, that would be split between about three events.  

At the April 16 regular council meeting, it was shared that Tourism Kenora had already received three applications, and they expected to get about 10 more by the grant’s application deadline on the following Monday, April 22.  

Loewen said when he addressed city council, he wasn’t just speaking for himself or for Lakeside Live, but for all of the other potential events that could happen this summer too. 

“Not only did I ask for some additional funding, but I also asked council to consider expanding that total pool available,” he said. “There are a lot of different events that we want to see flourish as well.” 

“I understand wanting to support other important events in Kenora,” said Loewen. “But it’d be nice if we had at least an equal chance to apply for that because the $5,000 limit per event organizer got put in place after Shake the Lake got funding.” 

“We would like to be considered in a similar fashion and also maybe make some more [funding] available for the rest of the city,” he said. But as the application for the grant only just closed, the city council decided to return to the topic of which events will get funding, and if Lakeside Live will get more than the $5,000 allocated during their next meeting on May 14. 

Loewen and his business partners, Lucien Stratton and Adam Fishkin are Winnipeggers who have been spending their summers in Kenora for most of their lives. They got the idea to host a musical festival after feeling like there weren’t many activities or hang-out spots dedicated to the 19+ crowd.  

Planned in just two-and-a-half months last year, Lakeside Live drew in a crowd of over 500 people throughout the day, surpassing the attendance of the final Harboufest, with a lineup of international artists.

This year, Loewen is expecting around 800 people to come to the festival, and he has a long term goal of expanding the festival’s reach and hitting a capacity crowd of several thousand people. 

This year’s artist lineup includes Vancouver DJ, Felix Cartal, Amsterdam’s Julian Jordan and CMC$ and Cheyenne Giles from San Diego, California.  

In order to attract artists, festival organisers have to meet their standards when it comes to technical equipment. For example, this year, the Lakeside Live team are building a new LED light wall to go behind the DJ booth on stage.  

“That alone is adding close to $15,000 in expenses, but every time you step up the caliber of the artists, their requirements for the stage production rise,” said Loewen. “That’s why we’re seeking some financial support from the city.”

Aside from potential funding from the special events grant and their sponsors, Lakeside Live will be entirely self-funded, said Loewen. They won’t receive any revenue from ticket sales until after the festival has already finished. “We’re putting a lot of our own skin in the game,” he said. 

Lakeside Live is happening July 27 at the Jarnel Contracting Pavillion. General admissions tickets start at $65 plus tax, and tier one V.I.P. tickets are $130 plus tax.

To learn more about Lakeside Live or to purchase tickets visit