Final kick-off event held for Nova Scotia Summer Fest

Nova Scotia Summer Fest MC Ana Almeida and organizer Ray Mattie chat during last week’s kick-off event in Antigonish.

ANTIGONISH: On the first day of summer, the organizers of the province’s newest music festival, Nova Scotia Summer Fest, hosted a kick-off event at the Antigonish Education Centre, which unveiled the final music lineup, schedule, and acted as a chance to meet vendors and sponsors.

“I have cramps from smiling,” Ray Mattie told reporters following the event. “We’re two months away and all the pieces of the puzzle are coming together.”

The event was an opportunity for his team, along with the vendors and sponsors, who know each other at arm’s length, to get to know each other face-to-face, and provided space for vendors and sponsors to showcase their individually unique niche.

Co-hosted by CTV’s Ana Almeida, who will also act as MC of Nova Scotia Summer Fest, a lengthy list of sponsors were named off including; the presenting partner East Coast Credit Union, MacDonald Chrysler, Eastlink, the Town of Antigonish, 989 XFM, the CACL, and Antigonish Community Transit.

Providing transportation services to and from Keppoch Mountain for the festival, Antigonish Community Transit will be providing a shuttle service, with five stops across town will be affordable costing $10 one-way or $25 for a weekend-pass.

“It’s finalized, Virgin Radio is pumping it mega hard in Halifax – they’re talking about it in the city,” Mattie said. “I couldn’t be happier, I can’t wait until the day comes and we get it all rolling, the sound crews are ready, the bands are ready, and the promotional work is done. It been 18-months and it’s almost there.”

Photos by Drake Lowthers
Nova Scotia Summer Fest hosted a kick-off event showcasing the inaugural event’s sponsors and vendors at Antigonish Education Centre on June 20.

Nova Scotia Summer Fest is represented by companies from the Annapolis Valley, Halifax, and of course locally, which Mattie said needs to be put on the forefront.

Being tapped for food and beverage services are local food trucks; Little Asia, Back East Seafood, Waffle Bus, El Gordos Tacos, as well as Cabot Oysters, along with Avondale Sky Winery, Just Us, Nova Scotia Spirit Co., and Garrison Brewing.

Additionally, Mattie unveiled the festival’s official merchandise from a partnership with Halifax-based East Coast Lifestyle.

Keppoch general manager Paul Basile said the festival will act as a positive awareness campaign for them.

“I always ask groups “How many people have been out to Keppoch?” About half the people in this room rose their hand, which is great, but half didn’t,” Basile said. “This is the kind of thing that we need, this is the kind of promotion that’s going to get every hand in a room like this raised – that’s our goal.”

Basile indicated that their partnership with Mattie and Nova Scotia Summer Fest has been extremely beneficial as they’re promoting it as more than a music festival.

“It’s hiking, it’s mountain biking, it’s sports, its physical activity, it’s accessible physical activity, we’ve doubled the amount of mountain bike trails and we have wheelchair accessible hiking trails,” he said. “It’s everything that’s great about Nova Scotia.”

Basile said it really was the perfect marriage for them with the look, the feel, the demographic, the sponsors – everything was a big match for them.

“Keppoch is ready for this, that’s why we’ve been on the same page on this the whole way through,” Mattie explained. “If this was four years ago, they wouldn’t have been ready, I wouldn’t have been ready – I’ve been wanting to do this my whole life, but it takes years and years of performing at events to see what works and what doesn’t.”

Mattie, who has a new album coming out soon, will also be gracing the stage of Nova Scotia Summer Fest alongside fiddlers, singers, folk-songwriters, rappers, rock guitarists, and a hip-hop dance band.

Nova Scotia Summer Fest Association is a non-profit corporation, with its profits generated going towards funding for summer music camps for local youth, which will start in 2020.

The inaugural festival will take place August 23 and 24 and will feature Allan Doyle, Classified, The Good Lovelies, Heather Rankin, Cassie & Maggie, Christine Campbell, Slowcoaster, Hillsburn, Anna Ludlow, Pineo & Loeb, McGinty, and more.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the Web site: www.novascotiasummerfest.ca.