If you’re a music lover, the County always has something to offer – both day and night!
Many of our local wineries host live music on weekend afternoons, and in the evening there are plenty of venues where you can catch some of our local talent (and some internationally known artists too) on stages both large and small.
Concerts at The Regent Theatre
The historic Regent Theatre is well-known for hosting an eclectic range of acts, and in the past has featured Jim Cuddy (Blue Rodeo), Carlos Del Junco, Sam Roberts and more. Coming up this weekend, June 24th, there’s an Elvis festival you won’t want to miss, and Saturday July 1st, Canada Day, you’ll be able to catch The Rheostatics, which promises to be a fun evening with one of Canada’s best-loved bands, fronted in part by the iconic Dave Bidini. On the following weekend, July 7, lovers of blues and gospel won’t want to miss Toni Vani & The Holy Blues Band; or on July 15th, sing along to 70’s favourites with Abba Magic. The Regent is just a short walk from the Merrill Inn, making it easy to enjoy a night on the town without having to worry about driving home. Be sure to drop by the County Canteen on the way back for a cold craft brew and some local colour.
Party at The Hayloft
But the Regent isn’t the only place to get your groove on! The newly revived Hayloft Dance Hall, recently purchased by the owners of Toronto’s Dakota Tavern, hosts a heck of a shindig every weekend, featuring local artists like Villas (July 15), and Moon Sugar (Aug. 5), as well as guest DJs to help you dance the night away until the wee hours. There are some big-ticket shows on the calendar too – coming up, they’ve got Sloan (June 30), 54-40 (July 6), and The Sadies (July 28), peppered in with barn parties where you can rock out to acts like Dwayne Gretzky (Aug. 12), or step out with bluegrass from the Foggy Hogtown Boys (July 7). The Hayloft is a bit off the beaten path, but to make things super easy, they provide a free shuttle with pickups and drop-offs right here in Picton.
Local Musicians and More
If you’re interested in discovering local talent in a more low-key setting, there are plenty of small venues that offer live music several nights a week. The Drake in Wellington hosts an open mic night every Tuesday. The Acoustic Grill features a revolving door of Canadian talent from Thursday through Sunday nights, and the County Canteen hosts Karaoke every Wednesday, solo acts on Friday and Saturday nights, as well as their famous Sunday afternoon ARVO Sessions (apparently Aussie slang for something to do when you’re hungover) paired with $5 Caesar’s all day long.
For fans of old-time music, don’t miss Peter Rea and The Reasons if you have the opportunity. They’re the County’s hands-down favourites when it comes to 50s and 60s music, dancing and sing-alongs, and you can usually catch them playing somewhere on the weekends. Next week, The Reasons are playing a free concert at the Gazebo in Wellington on Tuesday June 27 at 6:30pm, and they are traditionally the main attraction at Wellington’s Canada Day festivities on the main street. At the Picton United Church, you can even enjoy an old-time fiddle show on June 24; and speaking of churches, St. Mary Magdalene Anglican Church, just a block south of us here at the Merrill Inn, often hosts classical, choral and jazz concerts and is an important venue during the PEC Jazz Festival in August.
Our local vineyards (and breweries) love to host music as well – all the better to sip by! You can enjoy music in the vineyard at Sandbanks Estates Winery every Friday from 4pm – 7pm, every Sunday afternoon at Huff Estates, and Saturday afternoons on the patio at Barley Days Brewery.
So there you have it – a music-lover’s extravaganza just about any day (or night) you choose! As you tour the County, don’t forget to tune in to 99.3 County FM, our community radio station, which always features local artists in their eclectic programming of music, local news and happenings.
Visit the Merrill Inn
Thinking about planning a trip to the County? We’d love to help. Check out our seasonal packages for great ideas about how best to discover our local culture.