Following a two year hiatus, St. Andrews’ Winter Warmer Festival returns January 27-29 with a lineup celebrating both the festival’s history and its future.
St. Andrews’ Winter Warmer Festival is back. After a brief hiatus, the festival returns to form this month with a lineup featuring a mix of past performers and new voices. Hot Toddy, The Olympic Symphonium, Owen Steel, The Hypochondriacs, Max Keenlyside, Nico Paolo, Colin Fowlie, Marianne Girard, Catherine Kennedy, and The Hypochondriacs are among the many guest performers set to take stages throughout the town later this month.
“The last version of the event was in February of 2020 and six weeks after things began to slow down,” said Jamie Steel, one of the festival’s organizers. “We are happy to be back and so happy to be able to continue to bring live music to St. Andrews, especially at this time of year.”
Known primarily as a summer destination, St. Andrews welcomes an influx of vacationers and day trippers from mid-May until the beginning of September when many of the town’s seasonal shops close for the season.
“Winter Warmer has always had a secondary objective of providing a reason to visit St. Andrews in the off season,” said Steel. “And it’s a reason for locals to get out and enjoy what winter has to offer.
“Since the beginning in 2012, the community has been keen to support the initiative,” he said. “I think in part because of our good fortune to have an incredible array of talent who are keen and willing to come and perform to appreciative audiences.”
Steels says over the past several years, the growing number of performances that take place in St. Andrews year round have helped position the town as a performance destination. While the bulk of performance programming which includes Paddlefest, the Summer Opera Workshops, the Minister’s Island Concert Series, and various performances at KIRA take place during the warmer months, events like the fall and winter concert series at The Dunn Theatre, semi-regular house concerts, and the Winter Warmer Festival help to attract audiences throughout the rest of the year.
“With Paddlefest leading the way, there are now a number of other events and opportunities for locals and visitors to see and hear incredible music,” he said.
One of the marquee events planned for this year’s Winter Warmer Festival centers on the musical legacy of Salty Towers, the storied St. Andrews B&B Steel ran for many years. A long established home away from home for musicians and visiting artists of all backgrounds, Salty Towers, under Steel’s management, also developed a reputation as an artist retreat. Hot Toddy, The Olympic Symphonium, and Owen Steel each recorded albums during extended stays at the B&B. All three acts will come together for a performance at the Dunn Theatre on January 28 to honour and celebrate this important chapter in their shared history.
“The Saturday marquee event featuring Owen Steel, Hot Toddy and The Olympic Symphonium is something I have wanted to do for a while, since moving on from Salty Towers,” said Steel, who sold the business in 2021. “This was a good opportunity to bring these folks together and I think they all wanted to do it.”
This year’s festival will see artists performing at various venues across St. Andrews including Honeybeans Coffee, Tea and Treats (Catherine Kennedy, Maggie Estey and Line Woods), Sudbury Shores (Colin Fowlie and Marianne Girard with Jon Weaver), the Anglican Church Hall (Nico Paulo and Max Keenlyside), Red Herring Pub (Kylie Fox Band and Rich Gloade) and the Algonquin Hotel (The Hypochondriacs) with the possibility of other pop-up locations and performances during the event.
Tickets are on sale now. Full details and up to date information can be found at www.winterwarmerfestival.ca
Cover photo: Hot Toddy. Respectfully lifted from the group’s Facebook page. No credit given.