by Charlie Hansen
Well, the summer has faded into fall and many of the musical events associated with the warmer season have ceased operation for another year.
The summer season on PEI is always awash in music of every kind and colour and never ceases to amaze local and visitor alike. I’ve heard from visitors to the Island that they can’t understand how a place so small holds a talent pool so large and deep.
At one time we were famous for Celtic and country music with a bit of everything else thrown into the pot but in recent years, partly due to the emergence of Music PEI, other genres have more than flourished as witnessed in the many nominations (and wins) at both the Music PEI awards and the ECMAs.
Being a country and bluegrass music fan I spent my summer at many of the, mostly, bluegrass festivals across the island. Whether it was Rollo Bay, Abram Village, Tignish, Twin Shores or Marco Polo Land this summer was a great year for bluegrass music on the Island.
Two new festivals emerged this year, one very successful and the other less so but still a valid opportunity for Island musicians to perform and add to their exposure to the music scene.
The Summerside festival which was associated with the Lobster Carnival was less successful due to lack of marketing and promotion but still, as I stated previously a valid opportunity for Island bluegrass players.
The 1st Annual Twin Shores Camping Area bluegrass festival was a rousing success and this will be a first class event for years to come. The Bluegrass Brothers from Virginia headlined the show and brought many folks from off-Island to Twin Shores due to their familiarity with the band. Probably the most well received band on the schedule were local favourites, Gordie MacKeeman and his Rhythm Boys. These guys are dynamite on stage and deserve every one of the accolades that they receive. They are high energy on stage and as personable as they come off stage. Well done guys.
The operation at Twin Shores is first rate and the owners bend over backward to make sure your experience is pleasurable in every aspect of your stay. This is another fine show place for local bluegrass to be experienced in a first class setting.
There may be some changes at Marco Polo Land next year. There is talk of a Gospel festival on the same weekend next year but we’ll have to wait and see.
There is a new CD in the making for Neil Matthews. This effort is a duet project with five young ladies accompanying Neil. Neil is in good voice after having some health issues over the last couple of years. This is a CD worth the wait, I’m sure.
Until next time don’t forget to support live country and bluegrass music and listen to Bluegrass Island every Sunday evening at 9:00 on CFCY FM 95.1 or on the world wide web at www.cfcy.fm.