Toy Stock “A Great Way to Introduce the Next Generation to Live Music”

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Toy Stock

Ten local bands played for an hour each on Sunday at the seventh annual Toy Stock event.

Admission to this event was by donation of a new or slightly used toy, a non-perishable food item, or a monetary donation.

All of the proceeds from the event will be going to help kids and families who are less fortunate at Christmas.

Greg Simpson, co-founder of Toy Stock, told SaultOnline that Toy Stock is a revisit from an old event they held 15 years ago called Music for Toys. Simpson’s wife, Kerry, came up with the idea for Toy Stock after a friend mentioned to Greg that it was something the community needed again.

Simpson said the event has always been “10 bands, 10 hours.”

Toy Stock
Photo by Megan Pounder/SaultOnline

“That’s the toy stock – it’s supposed to be that whole-day, big festival of music,” he said. “(It’s) supporting local talent, and giving back to the less fortunate.”

One of the 10 bands that played at Sunday’s event was “Jeff and Friends.”

Jeff McNeice, one of the band members, and morning radio host for 104.3 Country, told SaultOnline the band has played at this event for the past three years.

“Toy stock’s great,” he said. “It ties in with (the radio station’s) Stuff-A-Bus for Christmas Cheer campaign, as you can notice with all the toys, it goes to the less fortunate in the area, and that’s what this whole thing is about.”

McNeice said being involved in Toy Stock is a treat.

“To be a musician and be able to do something to give back is a great thing,” he said.

Toy Stock
Photo by Megan Pounder/SaultOnline

Kerry Simpson, event co-founder, said they try to change up the bands each year, to give everyone in the Sault a chance to be a part of the fundraiser. This goes for genre as well. This year included a Neil Diamond cover band, 90s acoustic stuff, some classic rock, country, etc.

“(We) try and find as big of a variety as possible, give everybody an opportunity in the Sault here to play,” said Greg.

Other bands included in Toy Stock were:

  • The Bearded Lounge
  • Wyld Stallyns
  • Cases Music
  • Algorythms
  • Brendan Hodgson
  • Chunks of Mahn
  • Obsession
  • Soundcheck
  • Bone Yard

Toys donated this year included stuffed animals, board games, and even musical instruments. Glenn Thomas, a local musician and drummer, put three drum kits together and donated them to the cause.

“There’s something for everybody, but they could always use something else,” McNeice explained. “Apparently teenagers is a big void – they’re usually looking for hockey sticks and skates and things like that.”

As well as a plethora of musical talent, activities at this event included pictures with Santa, Mr. Bon Soo, face painting, airbrush tattoos with Dave from Doghouse Custom Paint, a children’s play area, and Red Velvet “Foto Booth.

As well as this event, Greg and Kerry take part in motorcycle rides for charities, and Greg and his band (Boneyard) donate their time to various causes.

“We love it. As long as it stays local – it’s all about helping your neighbours.”

Both Greg and Kerry said they think it’s amazing to be able to do this year after year. Since its inception, the turnout at Toy Stock has outgrown the basement of the Canadian Motor Hotel, moving to the Northern Grand Gardens, and they may have to move to a bigger vendor yet again.

“The Sault’s really, really, really good,” Greg said. “It’s amazing – they really give back.”

“It’s amazing,” Kerry agreed. “To be able to pull this much of the community together to make donations at Christmas, show our spirit, and start the whole season off with giving.”