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Oct. 25, 2021 | Monday
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Livestock Niagara paves way for future hub in its final year
Livestock Niagara will host its fifth and final year at the Niagara Falls Farmers Market this year on Aug. 23 and 24. (Supplied)

Livestock Niagara is closing out its fifth and final year at a new location, the Niagara Falls Farmers Market, which is also gearing up for its last year operating as-is.

Rafik Guirguis, CEO of Livestock Niagara, said he is bringing the festival home to the people who helped build it up over the years. For the first four years, the festival has been held at Taps Brewhouse on Queen Street in Niagara Falls.

Guirguis said he decided to move the festival to the farmers' market to “pave the way for the future grounds of the official Niagara Falls arts and culture hub.”

The area at Main and Ferry streets is the future home for the planned Culture Hub and Farmers Market for Niagara Falls, the design and construction drawings for which were approved during an April public meeting.

“I have been heavily involved with the City of Niagara Falls for a few years now and I have been granted the Niagara Falls Cultural Development Fund, hosted through the city of Niagara Falls Museums and Niagara Falls Arts and Culture Committee – twice for the festival (Livestock) and once for Market Niagara,” he said, adding that it felt appropriate to close out the festival in that setting.

With the conclusion of Livestock Niagara, Guirguis said he will finally be able to enjoy what he has been working on building for the last five years.

“(I’m) genuinely very excited for this year’s festival. Weird enough, now that it’s coming to an end, I’m finally able to enjoy what we’ve put together and I’m stoked to party with my friends at Livestock,” he said.

Though Livestock will reach its conclusion, Guirguis said this won’t be the end of his career in the local music scene.

“I’m still very much in the music industry game, I’m just more so approaching it from a larger standpoint,” he said, alluding to plans for bigger festivals, potential venue bookings and “something big in the works,” that he said he won’t yet talk about.

In the wake of Livestock this year, Guirguis said he hopes its legacy will be one of hard work and perseverance, especially for creative people in Niagara, where he said proper outlets for creativity can be hard to come by.

“Your creative content is worth every minute. It’s worth a stage, it’s worth an audience. You can get it, and you can get it at home in Niagara."

Without bringing new features to the festival, aside from location and partnerships, he said the goal this year was to really home in on the familiar vibe Livestock has achieved from the beginning.

“The love, the peace, the community aspect. The funk jams, the psychedelic jams. All that kind of stuff that everybody knows Livestock to be, that’s kind of what we’re bringing it to,” he said.

The two-day festival will feature artisan and food vendors to be announced, and a full bar with beer provided by the Exchange Brewery.

The Niagara Music Awards and Ryan Lunn Music and Consulting provided generous contributions to this year’s festival, Guirguis said.

Livestock Niagara will be held 5943 Sylvia Place from 5 p.m. to 12 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 23, and from 3 p.m. to midnight on Saturday, Aug. 24.

Tickets are $25 for a day pass and $40 for a weekend pass, and can be purchased online.