Waterloo Band Festival
The Waterloo Band Festival. An annual band festival and competition held 1932-40 and 1946-58 in Waterloo Park, Waterloo, Ont. Organized by Charles F. Thiele (bandmaster and the founder of the Waterloo Music Co) to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Waterloo Musical Society, the first festival presented 23 bands (14 in evening parades) and 80 solo contestants. Subsequent festivals, held on the last Saturday in June, drew crowds of up to 25,000 to hear as many as 70 bands from Ontario, Quebec, Wisconsin, Michigan, and (one year) Kamloops, BC, in concerts and parades, and more than 1000 contestants in 100 instrumental competitions. The festival also presented such solo artists as the saxophonist Sigurd Rascher and the Radio City Music Hall cornetist Leona May Smith. In 1937 an evening spectacle, 'The Festival of Empire,' was staged to mark the coronation of George VI. The festivals were discontinued during World War II and abandoned after 1958.