Two local bands will be representing North Grenville at the Kemptville Live Music Festival this summer. Rod Baird and the Agency will be kicking off the festival with the first slot on Thursday evening. Then, on Friday, Southbound will be the first to take the stage in the evening’s line up. “We have had local talent on the main stage every year,” says Bob Besharah, Kemptville Live Music Festival organizer. “We felt these two bands would be a good fit for the festival this year.”
Rod Baird and the Agency is made up of four guys from the area who came together in late 2016 to form the 80’s rock cover band, The Instigators. Under that guise, Rod Baird on guitar and lead vocals, Bradley Smith on Keyboard and vocals, John Wilberforce on bass guitar and vocals, and Bryan Valeriani on drums and percussion, have been playing covers together in bars and at festivals in the Ottawa area. While they enjoy the challenge of covering different artists, Rod decided to do something a little different for Kemptville Live and create a set of completely original music. They also decided to play under a new name, to differentiate themselves from their cover band.
“I have been writing music for years,” Rod says. “I’m very lucky to have the guys around me to support my original stuff.”
Rod says his music can be categorized as rock. “I write a lot lyrically, with a lot of guitar riffs,” he says. He contributed songs to compilation CDs in the 90s, and released his first full rock album, called “Wound”, in 2000. However, the music that he and the band are going to play at Kemtpville Live is all new, and it will be the first time Rod has played a full-band original show in over fifteen years. “Having the opportunity to see a crowd reaction to your music is pretty cool,” Rod says. He hopes to have a single available to coincide with the Festival. “We just recorded the guitar tracks tonight,” he said, with clear excitement in his voice. “It’s pretty groovy stuff.”
If you want a preview of the band, The Instigators will be playing 80’s covers at the Goose and Gridiron in Merrickville on April 7.
On Friday the crowd can look forward to the southern rock cover band, Southbound. Lead vocalist Rob Balsillie started the band six years ago when he moved to the area from Newmarket, Ontario. “I left my band in Toronto,” Rob remembers. “I was so discouraged. I thought my music career was over forever.” Little did he know that soon after coming to North Grenville he would form a band that would play at many noteworthy bars and festivals in the Ottawa area and open for bands like The Box and Killer Dwarfs. Southbound is made up of Rob on rhythm guitar and lead vocals, Pat Dugas on drums and vocals, Rob Sands on bass, and Luke Jones on lead guitar. The band enjoys covering songs by famous bands like Lynyrd Skynard and the Allman Brothers.
Rob says he is looking forward to playing on a large professional stage alongside big names like Trooper and Loverboy. “We love playing outdoors, with the energy of the crowd,” he says. “We want to entertain people, warm them up, and blow the other bands off the stage.”
Both bands are proud to be representing local talent at this year’s Kemptville Live. “They have always brought in some great acts,” Rob says. “We are excited to be representing music in the area.”
Besides being musicians, Rob and Rod also own successful businesses. Rob is the owner of the record store Vinyl Destination, in Merrickville, and Rod owns B. Baird Water Conditioning that services North Grenville and the surrounding area.