Music & Arts for Charity
Proceeds from Cicada Music Festival are donated to the Movember Foundation of Canada.
Supporting Movember Foundation Canada
Meet Thom Lepp, our dear friend, father and the inspiration for Cicada Music & Arts.
Thom's sons can see it clearly, an image that will forever be engraved in the minds of the four brothers. The rickety wood patio furniture sitting atop the stage, now a permanent fixture in the back yard of their Port Dalhousie home.
Thom sits cross legged, dog at his feet, notebook and pen in hand. His orange pekoe tea, lots of milk, just the way he likes it, sits next to the red stained wine glasses and cigar remnants from the night before. As he sits sipping his tea, he makes phone call after phone call, inviting the many friends and family he hopes to see at this year’s party.
This is where Thom laid the foundation for Cicada Fest, ultimately inspiring what has come to be known as Cicada Music & Arts.
Thom was a dreamer.
The Beginning of Cicada Fest
After 13 wonderful years, the party had outgrown his yard, and Cicada Fest was born. Its origins not to be forgotten, the festival's name would be inspired by the insects who's buzzing could be heard throughout the night in the backyard that birthed the festival. To Thom and his children, this was the sound of summer.
The three-day festival would span five years, the first of five taking place in 2007, at the Serbian Picnic Grounds in Niagara Falls. The following year (2008), a move to Club LaSalle returned the festival home to St. Catharines, where it would remain in 2009. However, one last move in 2010 allowed Cicada Fest to find its forever home on Henley Island in Port Dalhousie, the current home of Cicada Music & Arts. Thom held one last Cicada Fest on the island in the summer of 2011.
A prostate cancer diagnosis derailed any chance of the festival returning in 2012, and in 2013, the backyard would once again play host to Lepp's event, which would continue annually until the summer of 2016.
In the Summer of 2017, Thom passed away.
Soon after, sons Malcolm, Evan and family friend Ben Goerzen began to plan the festivals return in honour of Thom, and his love for live music and the Niagara Region. Long gone were the days of Cicada Fest, but from its ashes arose the beauty that is Cicada Music & Arts.
Having established themselves as regular Movember participants in the community from 2015-2017, the boys decided the festival would also double as a platform for which they would raise awareness for mens’ health. To this date, Team MOlcolm, headed by Thom's second youngest son Malcolm has raised roughly $30,000 in support of Movember.
Cicada Music & Arts is so much more than a music festival, it is an experience and an opportunity for the community to celebrate live music, arts and culture, craft beer, fine wine, and the culinary industry we so proudly recognize in the Niagara Region. The festival’s aim is to create an all-inclusive, accessible and welcoming environment, much like the one you may have experienced in the years prior.
What started as a backyard party hosted by Thom, has blossomed into the festival we present to you today. Much like it’s namesake, Cicada Fest never ceased to exist, laying dormant as it grew behind closed doors, only to emerge years later in honour of its creator, Thom Lepp.