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Country Prose
by Charlie Hansen

This month I have a few thoughts on what makes the PEI music scene so great and what makes the PEI music scene not so great.

First the good news. The Music PEI awards are coming up early in the new year and there is certainly no scarcity of people that should or will be eligible for awards.

The growth of the PEI music industry over the last ten or so years is astounding. I remember, being involved in the early PEI Music Awards Assoc. From which Music PEI has sprung, the difficulty in trying to get enough publicity and headline acts to entice a crowd to half fill the Harbourfront Jubilee Theatre.

At this year’s awards there will be enough upper level talent to fill the newly named Eastlink Centre. Now the awards aren’t being held in the Eastlink Centre but if they were I’m sure it would be full and all this proves is if you give talented people a bit of a push, some financial assistance and encouragement they can evolve into world class performers. Good luck to all who may be nominated and to the organizers a hearty congratulations on a job well done.

And now to a part of the PEI music scene that’s not so good.

The Charlottetown city council has decided, in its wisdom that maybe it isn’t a good idea to have events in Victoria Park that charge an admission fee. It seems to me that The Jack Frost Festival charges an admission fee as well as baseball games and I’m sure there have been other events.

The push by a local company to launch a national folk festival needs the support of council to allow them to use Victoria Park as a base to present the festival. Folk festivals such as the one proposed for Victoria Park are a perfect way to enhance the cultural diversity of a community by bringing in performers from all corners of the world to give Islanders an idea of what other cultures are all about.

I remember, while living in Toronto, in the mid 70s attending the Mariposa Folk Festival, at that time, held on Toronto Island. I saw and enjoyed performers as diverse as Miriam Makeba and Ian Tyson with Odetta, Gordon Lightfoot and Doctor John thrown into the mix. Some of these people I hadn’t really enjoyed until I saw them in person and the way that they interacted with the audience. The crowds and the performers were equally as colourful and the atmosphere was one of friendship and acceptance.

The National Folk Festival needs Victoria Park so that it may showcase more than one act at a time and offer the total package to the people of PEI.

If you agree here’s a link to a petition that you can sign to show your support: www.change.org/en-CA/petitions/charlottetown-city-council-approve-the-use-of-victoria-park-for-the-national-folk-festival

Until next time don’t forget to support live country and bluegrass music and listen to Bluegrass Island every Sunday at 9 pm on CFCF FM 95.1 and on the web at cfcy.fm.

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