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Youth launch Amplify festival

By: Anna Borowiecki

  |  Posted: Wednesday, May 07, 2014 12:45 pm

CREATIVE YOUTH – Singer-songwriter Ella Coyes performs Tuesday at an event to launch the upcoming Amplify Youth Festival, which runs over two days in October.
CREATIVE YOUTH – Singer-songwriter Ella Coyes performs Tuesday at an event to launch the upcoming Amplify Youth Festival, which runs over two days in October.
APRIL BARTLETT/St. Albert Gazette

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St. Albert Amplify Youth Festival
Oct. 17 and 18
Enjoy Centre
101 Riel Dr.
Tickets: Single day pass $10, weekend pass $15. Workshop fees $22 to $38
Call the Arden box office at 780-459-1542 or purchase online at

Let’s ignite youth arts. That’s pretty much the mantra that the City of St. Albert cultural services projected after announcing the newest addition to its fall lineup.

The inaugural Amplify Youth Festival, a youth-driven arts fest that supports teens and young adults in expressing their creativity, is pegged to run Oct. 17 and 18 at the Enjoy Centre.

A much-anticipated announcement, held at the Enjoy Centre on Tuesday, was hosted by the organizing committee of youth.

The two-day event is a chance to nurture youth’s artistic endeavours through workshops, drop-in activities, a bazaar, club booths, an entertainment stage and possibly a mural project.

Two nights of concerts and entertainment will cap off the activities. On Friday night a rock showcase dubbed The Show 1.0 will highlight local bands as they take over the Amplify stage. Following the show will be a bash featuring Harmon B and DJ Kwake remixing today’s top dance tracks.

Saturday night will feature pros rocking the stage. The headliner is “soon-to-be-announced.”

The festival’s launching theme is Dare to Be You.

“When you are in the arts, you express yourself and do things that express who you are. When we do creative things, that’s exactly what we do – dare to be you,” said Katie Fitzgerald, one of the 17 members of the youth festival advisory committee.

Not only is there a diverse range of fun activities, but organizers have also included an educational component through nine workshops.

The diversity ranges from henna art, photography, filmmaking and improv to tape art, metalwork, barbecuing and the art of selfies. For truly daring singer-songwriters, a six-hour songwriting challenge is included.

Ella Coyes, a Grade 11 student at St. Albert Catholic High and member of The Rhythm Group Music Collective, sang an original composition during the festival’s media launch.

“It’s (the festival) so different. It’s bringing in multiple disciplines and it’s got workshops – something a lot of festivals don’t have. To have a youth committee is awesome. Youth know what youth want. I feel more connected knowing like-minded people are organizing a festival for me.”

As a singer-songwriter, she is the first to admit that young artists may be afraid to expose themselves – an essential ingredient for successful art.

“The festival is a place you can put a piece of your soul. It gives you the opportunity to try something and see people that are like-minded. It’s a way to connect, and that is what art is – connecting.”

Mayor Nolan Crouse said the city provided $25,000 to begin the process in 2013 and followed up with an additional $80,000 this year. The city also budgeted for an additional $80,000 for the 2015 festival.

“We wanted to make it a three-year process to see if we could build something we are proud of,” he said, affirming council’s commitment to youth.

Tickets are now on sale. For more information visit


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