New Richmond Bluegrass Festival a big success once again|
New Richmond, September 9, 2007. The fifth edition of the New Richmond Bluegrass Festival, which was held Labour Day weekend on the grounds of the Gaspesian British Heritage Village was once again a great success, with attendance up by about ten per cent over 2006. Well over 200 trailers and RV’s packed the site and both visitor’s and Gaspesian bluegrass fans were treated to some of the best bluegrass bands in eastern Canada at Quebec’s first and only bluegrass music festival.
The Bluegrass Diamonds, one of the most popular bands in Eastern Canada and the north eastern United States were in fine form and as usual were great crowd pleasers. Two time Eastern Canada Music Award Winner, Ray Legere, who is one of Canada’s top fiddle and mandolin players, teamed up with Gaspé native Frank Doody and the other members of Acoustic Horizon and showed the crowd why they are becoming another of the most asked for bluegrass formations in the region.
One of the festival’s highlights was the last show on Saturday evening, when bluegrass legend Leroy Mack joined Acoustic Horizon for a surprise performance which will long be remembered by the music fans who were on hand. Dobro player Mack, who is a southern California native, has been playing music for over forty years and was a member of the Kentucky Colonels and also appeared in the popular 1960’s TV series, the Andy Griffith Show.
A mock 1800’s wedding, draws and cow chip bingo kept attendees busy between shows and the ever popular jams, in which both band members and amateurs alike play music at several areas in the staging area and campground until the wee hours of the morning were once again very popular with festival goers. Another tradition which is unique to the New Richmond festival, is a rendering of “Will the Circle be Unbroken” in which band members, organizers and fans join together in a huge circle to close the festival.
According to festival president Tammy Burton, volunteers did a great job again this year. A special thanks to MC’s Roger Lee Martin and Edgar Duguay as well as Anne Marie Lussier, France Roy, Darlene and Bill Meredith, Gilles Francis, Luc Martin, Mike Geraghty and all the others who made the weekend possible.
The organizing committee of the New Richmond Bluegrass Festival is already working on preparations for the sixth edition which will be held August 29th to the 31st, 2008. Bands have already contacted and an already great bluegrass line up should be even better next year, with several bands already booked.
Photos by Irene Doyle