by Charlie Hansen
With summer peeking it’s head around a long and wintery corner it’s time to hit the bluegrass trail and this summer there is an explosion of sorts in the bluegrass world with new festivals being added, it seems, every day.
First for the more established variety. The 26th annual PEI Bluegrass & Old Time Music Festival July 1, 2, and 3 has been covered already so we’ll press on to some of the others.
July 8, 9, and 10 brings us the 10th annual Evangeline Bluegrass and Traditional Music Festival. This festival is held in Abram Village and boasts some of the best camping of any festival in the Maritimes. There are many serviced sites and the camping is level all over. This year’s headline band is a group from Ontario called Traditionally Wound. They are a fine first-generation-sounding band. There will also be a great lineup of local and regional bands.
On August 12, 13, and 14 we’ll all be going to Tignish for the Red Clay Bluegrass Festival this year’s headliners are Blistered Fingers from Maine, and Jan Purcell and Pine Road from Ontario. Other acts include The Bluegrass Diamonds, Shadow, River, Grassfire, Grass Works, Janet McGarry & Wildwood, Simply Acoustic, Two + Three, Eastern Edition, Like Father Like Daughter, & Lester MacPherson.
And now for the new festivals. On July 15, 16 and 17, as part of the Summerside Lobster Carnival, a bluegrass festival will happen at the Credit Union Place. This festival features Erica Brown and Bluegrass Connection from Maine. Erica is a fine oldtime fiddler and has branched out to the bluegrass side of things and gives a very good account of herself in that genre. The lineup also features Janet McGarry & Wildwood, as well as many Island bands. This is a first year event but being in conjunction with the Lobster Carnival it is assured of being a success.
The second new festival of the summer is the 1st Annual Twin Shores Camping Area Bluegrass Festival and will be held at Twin Shores Camping Area in Darnley Beach from September 1 to 3. This festival features, by popular demand, The Bluegrass Brothers from Virginia, Bluegrass Tradition from Nova Scotia, The Douthwrights from New Brunswick as well as, the very entertaining Gordie MacKeeman and His Rhythm Boys from PEI. Other groups that will add to your weekend pleasure are Country Grass, Two + Three, Simply Acoustic, Joe Casey and Westwind and Bluegrass Revival. Twin Shores Camping Area is rated as one of the top campgrounds in Canada and this will certainly be a wonderful way to end a summer of great bluegrass music.
Surely with all this happening on the Island we’ll see some of you folks out and about at a festival or two this summer. There’s lots to choose from.