Wake the Giant
Building a Community of Inclusivity
For more information, visit wakethegiant.ca. Story by Olivia Bosma, Photos by Keegan Richard
Apopular day-long music festival that promotes antiracism, cultural awareness, and inclusivity is returning to Thunder Bay's waterfront, and organizers of Wake the Giant Music Festival have secured a star-studded lineup for this year's event. The festival, which began in 2019 and returned in 2021 after a hiatus in 2020, promotes a safer, more welcoming, and accepting environment for Indigenous youth in Thunder Bay while also providing an entire day full of music, activities, and fun. This year's Wake the Giant is on September 17. “Wake the Giant actually started as an orientation for youth from Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School,” says Sean Spenrath, festival organizer and First Nations student success program coordinator at the school. “The idea behind the orientation was that kids who were coming to Thunder Bay from northern Indigenous communities, didn’t always feel very welcome here, so we wanted to provide a personal connection between them and businesses around Thunder Bay.” This year’s festival is going to be one for the books. Festival attendees are set to enjoy a lineup of talented performers and musicians such as Canadian rock band Our Lady Peace, legendary DJ Steve Aoki, 90s hitmakers Aqua, Grammy-nominated drum group Young Spirit Singers, and many more. Alongside the music, this year’s festival will include a live art installation, an Indigenous craft market, cultural performances, an educational panel, and food from some great local eateries. “We have some amazing food vendors for this year’s festival so far,” says Spenrath, adding that they include Epic Cones, The Poppin’ Hut, Oriental Garden, The Sal, Eat Local Pizza, The Bannock Lady, Mini Donut Shoppe, and Fox on the Run. Many families are always on the hunt for fun things to do together and Spenrath says that Wake the Giant is a great festival for kids, too. “A big part of our festival is about being family friendly,” he says. “We want to help educate youth to grow up without any bias or stereotypes using fun means. So, for the kids there will also be arts and crafts, a mini horse, a bouncy castle, and spray painting.” Children age 11 and under can attend the festivities free of charge. Don’t miss a great opportunity to make some memories, experience some incredible performances, and gain more understanding about the Indigenous youth who are making Thunder Bay their home.