by Charlie Hansen
First of all congratulations to all the nominees, winners, and performers at the annual Music PEI celebration of music, this year called The May Run Festival whose name harkened back to many years ago when the Victoria Day weekend was known locally as the May Run weekend [as hordes of young mainlanders invaded our Island, not so gently].
Now many people in the acoustic music world are looking forward to the festival season, especially the bluegrass festival season.
The first festival of the summer is a neat little festival that’s held in St. Louis in western PEI. This festival started as a campout but has blossomed into a full fledged festival. This year’s edition features Grassline from New Brunswick with Eddy, Robert and Bryan Poirier and Laurie Chavarie, Eastwind from Nova Scotia and also Next Generation from Nova Scotia. Next Generation is a very young band that started a couple of years ago and have seen a great improvement in their playing and presentation. A full slate of PEI bands will also be on hand. The festival happens June 26, 27 and 28.
The following weekend is the biggest and oldest festival on the Island, the 30th annual PEI Bluegrass and Old Time Music Festival. This year’s event features—from the US—The Lonesome River Band, The Clay Hess Band and Ned Crisp and Bottomline. The regional bands feature The Bluegrass Diamonds, Bluegrass Tradition and a band that has become an international success, The Spinney Brothers.
The Lonesome River Band has won enough awards over the last 30 years to fill many shelves. They are considered one of the most iconic groups in the genre.
The Clay Hess Band’s leader, Clay Hess, has a Grammy and several other awards to his credit after touring for three years with Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder. Clay is also an instructor in most all acoustic instruments.
Ned Crisp and Bottomline are a regional band that has played around the Ashland Kentucky are for many years and present a rock solid family-oriented show. Their musicianship and vocal ability is stellar in all aspects and will keep you well entertained.
The Spinney Brothers, although, from the Annapolis Valley have been embraced by the international bluegrass world and are the most successful bluegrass band ever to call the Maritimes home. The festival runs July 3, 4 and 5.
The Evangeline Bluegrass and Traditional Music Festival runs July 10, 11, and 12. The featured bands this year are Larry Efaw and The Bluegrass Mountaineers with their traditional bluegrass sound and the contemporary sounds of The Roys. Lots of regional and local bands fill out the rest of the program very ably.
Until next time don’t forget to support local country and bluegrass music and listen to Bluegrass Island every Sunday evening at 9 PM on CFCY 95.1 FM in Charlottetown and on the web at cfcy.fm.