By David DeRocco                   

How to you get the music of local musicians whose careers have been derailed by COVID clampdowns into the ears of locals and the more than 14 million potential tourists rolling through Niagara Falls each year? The City of Niagara Falls TRAIL MIX initiative is an example of how collaboration with local artists can benefit the entire community.

TRAIL MIX is an initiative implemented by Niagara Falls Culture that offers trail walkers an interactive opportunity to hear the music of local artists. Niagara Streams has inaugurated a new channel called TRAIL MIS, which features original content from 35 Niagara Falls musicians, including music, spoken word, and comedy, available along the Millennium Trail from Whirlpool Road to McLeod Road. Hikers along the trail will find 15 QR codes posted along the path. Using a smart phone camera, hikers can click on the codes to access the content available through TRAIL MIX.

“The idea was gathered from a Creative City conference in the spring, where I was in a breakout session with a man from Culture in Waterloo who mentioned it,” said Kim Van Stygeren, Cultural Development Coordinator wi the City of Niagara Falls Recreation and Culture Department. “I jumped all over it as it was a perfect Covid initiative. Musicians have had a very difficult time as we are all aware. I loved the idea of giving them exposure and money.”

According to Van Stygeren, it took from February through August to develop and launch the initiative. First the idea had to approved by the City, and then artist content was researched through a variety of platforms with the help of Rafik Gurguis, founder of the Livestock Music Festival. The next challenge was determining how the content would be implemented along the trail.

“All the puzzle pieces needing to fit the average walking speed between QR codes along the seven kilometre distance,” said Van Stygeren. “It’s fun how the music influences how one walks. When I got to the part in LMT’s “Funk Is The Final Frontier” where the rhythm kicks in, I actually started walking in double time.”

TRAIL MIX is now active and available to hikers year round. It features a diverse collection of local artists ranging from comedy with David Green to music from James Blonde, Electric Wildlife, Avenue Inn and The Mandevilles. For a fill list visit



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