The Schomberg Fair’s music grapples with the inclination to destroy oneself, the desire to be saved, and the hope of better things ahead. The band itself was born out of the near destruction of the musical ambitions of lead singer, guitarist/banjo and primary songwriter Matt Bahen. At 24, Bahen cut off all of the fingers from his left hand in a work accident, and had them reattached. While recuperating, he reconnected with high school friend Nathan Sidon, and the two bonded over their mutual appreciation of pre-war blues. It was as Bahen regained movement in his digits that The Schomberg Fair was born resulting in electrifying music and performances that breathe new life into Rock, Gospel and Roots music. Named for the spring agricultural fair of their small Ontario hometown, The Schomberg Fair is the one time a year that teenage townies look forward to most: a blend of rural farm-town culture and the mayhem that lies within every young individual. With the addition of drummer Pete Garthside’s thunderous beat and high lonesome vocals harmonies, along side Sidon’s punk-rock bass technique and rich bass vocal and you’re left with an inferno of a whiskey-swilling good time and an unforgettable night.
In October of 2009 the band released its breakthrough album, Gospel, which was received with overwhelming critical acclaim and reached top chart positions on Canadian college radio charts. Releasing their album to a sold-out El Mocambo in Toronto followed by several tours across Canada and key performances with bands like Elliott BROOD, Pack A.D., Jim Cuddy and 85 year old blues legend T-Model Ford. The Schomberg Fair entered 2010 with another show at Toronto's legendary Horseshoe Tavern performing on New Years Eve with The Sadies and Ron Sexsmith. Since then the band has continued to pick up steam starting with a showcase at Canadian Music Week hailed by CHARTattack as one of the Top 10 performances of the entire festival and continuing with several showcases at North by North East which served as proof that The Schomberg Fair continue to make each performance a finely tuned room-destroying spectacle.
The true stories songwriter Bahen has been privy to in his job as an outreach worker heavily inspires ‘Gospel’. These are tales of the dispossessed, the hurt, the vulnerable, the lost, the cruel and ultimately, the survivors. But the music is raucous, rousing and wild - it is within this dichotomy that the band shines brightest. The result is a sober reality with decidedly dynamic delivery.
"Seeing The Schomberg Fair is unlike any experience I or presumably you have ever had with a band." - Clash Music
“They’re Awesome!” - Craig Norris CBC Radio 3
“You'd have to be iron-hard-hearted, deaf drunk, dead, or all three to not appreciate the rumbling blues-punk roots of Toronto tripod of "speed-gospel" The Schomberg Fair” –Ottawa Xpress
“The Schomberg Fair’s CD knocked me on my ass with their Gun Club take on traditional form, so for those of you who like their twang a bit on the dark and gloomy side...” - Montreal Mirror
“Just when everybody’s feeling a little too drunk and tired, these guys will swagger on to the stage and tear the place up with their unusual style of speed-gospel. People who were putting their scarves on will be tearing off their shirts.” - CHARTattack
“Mixing traditional instruments like the banjo and harmonica with electric guitar, The Schomberg Fair fuse the soul and spirit of the deep blues, singing about desperate times and desperate people, while still managing to do it with a frenetic energy that is undeniably fun” - The Monitor, Montreal