Sunfest Set to Unveil ‘Celebration of Life’ in London’s Victoria Park – London |

The stage is nearly set in Victoria Park as crews prepare the downtown green space for Sunfest.

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Recognized as London, Ontario’s premier summer festival, Sunfest returns in person on Thursday for a four-day “celebration of life” featuring more than 40 national and international musical ensembles.

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“This is very exciting, after two and a half years of practically not being able to do it,” said Sunfest founder and co-artistic director Alfredo Caxaj.

“At this point, I really think the whole community is so excited about this, people are dying to get out there and really celebrate life because this is what it is: it’s a celebration of life.”

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Cajaj spoke to Global News on Wednesday as he and an army of volunteers made last-minute preparations in Victoria Park.

“It’s almost like restarting the whole process all over again, it’s certainly been a very challenging year,” Caxaj said.

Artistic director of the Sunfest Alfredo Cajaj.

Andrew Graham / Global News

Air travel proved to be one of the biggest hurdles for Sunfest this year, as international acts faced the same problems seen at Canadian airports and airlines in recent days.

“We constantly change the (lineup) because flights are delayed or cancelled,” Caxaj said.

There is also the issue of acquiring visas for artists, which Caxaj says takes even longer than before.

“It doesn’t matter now if you applied three months in advance, it seems that now you have to apply six months in advance, and that really complicates things a lot for artists,” Caxaj said, adding that some local deputies have stepped in to help. with visa problems.

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“Hopefully, between now and the weekend, every group that (hasn’t arrived yet) will be able to make it on time, but really that’s totally out of our control.”

Another factor outside the control of the organizers is the weather, but Cajaj is grateful to have clear skies, warm days and cool nights on the horizon for Sunfest.

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Even though I only learned earlier this year that Sunfest might be taking place in person, this year promises to have one of the largest lineups in history, featuring a wide variety of genres with artists from all over the world.

More than 225 food, craft and visual arts exhibitors will also be available.

“We are very proud of the number of people who come, we are very proud of the incredible artistic lineup that we have, but the most important thing is the social impact of the festival,” said Caxaj.

“When you see people from different cultures, different backgrounds, social and economic status, coming together and celebrating, there is nothing more beautiful than that.”

The first performances at Sunfest are scheduled to begin at 6 pm on Thursday. The full lineup is available at Sunfest website.

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The festival takes place from Thursday to Sunday and admission is free.

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