By David DeRocco 

All good things must come to an end. When it comes to the last year of Niagara’s homegrown LIVESTOCK Niagara Music and Arts Festival, however, event organizer Rafik Guirguis says it’s really a new beginning.

 “This is the last year that the festival set up will be the way it is,” said Guirguis, who has been the driving force for this unique indie music and local arts festival in the Falls. “This is last year with the current set up, with the name, the branding and the way the concert series is set up. Livestock Niagara as we know it is wrapping up this year. I already have some big program planned for next summer that I’ll be tackling right after the festival.”

 In the meantime, Guirguis and his team are diligently working to ensure the 2019 Livestock Niagara will be a success given its new location at the Niagara Falls Farmers Market on Sylvia Place in the Falls. To do that, Guirguis says this year’s final Livestock event is striving to reflect the festival’s original spirit.

 “I was hoping to really hone in on the vibe and the feel that is Livestock, which is the peace, the love and the arts community” said Guirfuis, who launched the festival in 2011. “I want to make it as much as a danceable festival as I can. A lot of the bands that are booked are part of a community of jam bands that’s been working with for quite a few years now. The music is always great with them and they always get the crowd moving.”

 Street Pharmacy, The Matadors, Revive The Rose, Road Waves, and Laurel and Hulley are just a few of the artists booked for the event, which runs Friday and Saturday August 23rd and 24th. Given the absence of any high-priced headliners and the space provided by this year’s location, Guirguis says there’s lots to be excited about at this year’s event.

 “I took a look at hiring a big headliner and I thought I just can’t afford it this year, and that’s okay. I’m excited about the plethora and the push for funk and jam bands this year. There’s going to be longer set times, which means more time to groove out to your favourite band. We have the Exchange Brewery jumping on board this year to sell craft beer at the festival. I’m really excited to work at the new property at the Farmer’s Market. We were looking at the layout the other day. It’s going to have the perfect vibe to it, like a small town market thing. The way we have the vendors set up is really cool. It’s just a great place to be able to get out and dance for a weekend one last weekend before summer’s over.”

 As to what success looks like as Livestock approaches its final year, Giurguis says it’s really measured by the level of enjoyment people have while attending. 

 “My success is defined by people’s perception on the quality of the time they spent at the festival. I’m not about numbers or about selling the most tickets or having the most attendees. I’m about the experience. So for me, if a couple hundred show up or however many people show up and they have a great time, and that’s what they remember Livestock as, then that’s what I’ll remember as success. It’s all about the experience.”


Experience Livestock August 23rd and 24th. Full details at



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