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Amplify podcast spotlights artists

Amplify Festival is still in the works for October, but it has a podcast to keep you in tune with the local youth arts scene, plus it's hosting its end of summer party in the park called Illuminate on Saturday. Fest organizers have also put out the call for writers, musicians and – new this year – filmmakers to be featured during the fall spectacular.

Have you heard what Amplify is up to these days? St. Albert’s youth festival is a podcasting sensation with its new interview project, Humans of Amplify. It’s already 11 episodes in and more are already on the way.

“We are trying to keep things happening Amplify-wise, which is awesome,” said youth festival associate Kathleen Bell, explaining the ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’ philosophy of going online à la pandemic.

“When things shut down, I almost immediately got a message from one of the committee members saying, ‘Are we meeting, Kathleen?’ We scrapped all of our plans and started from scratch, and one of the things we came up with was a podcast, which I really liked and have continued to like because instead of trying to fit something that's best done live and in-person into a digital space, it's just something that is best in a digital space. It really fits instead of trying to force something.”

There was a curve of learning the ropes but thankfully there’s an abundance of youthful keenness for such matters on the youth committee, starting with Kierra Leung who really got them through the big unknown at the beginning, she noted. They all dove right in though and have since easily become hardened professionals.

Alternating hosts have brought in such dynamic local cultural guests as St. Albert poet laureate Julia Sorensen, actor Aurianna McPhail, local singer Sister Ray and hip-hop artist Arlo Maverick, a two-time Amplify Wrap-Up Concert performer and songwriting workshop instructor, not to mention an all-around festival fave. Episode 11, which came out on Aug. 18, was entitled Danielle Too: Electric Boogaloo.

“It's been actually really interesting because we're able to talk to and highlight groups that ... we don't highlight as much or we don't get to know as much," Bell said – for example, visual artists.

Look for Humans of Amplify episodes on Anchor.FM.

But wait! There’s always more…

The festival doesn’t always wait until October for its big show. It often has tons going on throughout the year, and Illuminate: Enlighten the Night is on for this weekend. Considered the physically distanced edition of the fun night out, this event is Amplify’s way of sending off the summer with a night of art in the park.

Illuminate is a free event that requires no pre-registration. It runs on Saturday, Aug. 29, from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Kingswood Park Day Use Area. Attendees will be asked to stay two metres apart – but it’s a big park so that won’t be a problem.

While COVID might still put a big glitch in the works for Amplify 2020, the call for artists has still gone out. Organizers are looking for writers and musicians, and artists, but what’s new this year is a call for filmmakers.

Look to the festival’s website at for more details.

Scott Hayes

About the Author: Scott Hayes

Scott Hayes joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2008. Scott writes about the arts, entertainment, movies, culture, community groups, and charities. He also writes general news, features, columns and profiles on people.
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