ST. PETER’S: Traditional music enthusiasts with an interest in Cape Breton culture have become very aware of – and increasingly involved in – the annual Music Camp on the Canal in St. Peter’s.

Since its inception in 2012, the event has provided an intensive weekend of music instruction with a faculty that includes some of Atlantic Canada’s finest performing artists and teachers, as well as an All-Star Concert that’s achieved high acclaim among discerning Cape Breton audiences.

Music Camp’s reach has been far and wide, with participants coming from the United States and Europe, to join local youth and adults and other amateur musicians from across Atlantic and Central Canada over the past six years.

Due to a combination of factors presently challenging the volunteer organizers, the decision has been made to not stage the event this year.

Public funding is one of the current challenges. Richmond County’s core funding has been a valued and mandatory component from the outset. This year the municipality has been unable to respond to requests for support.

KitchenRackets volunteers now plan to form their own not-for-profit society to address risk management and fundraising with a dedicated board of directors and charter members.

KitchenRackets intends to continue pursuing its goals of developing local cultural assets and tourism opportunities, and to reinforce St. Peter’s and Richmond County’s brand as a place that attracts traditional music enthusiasts.

Under its new structure this year, KitchenRackets will release a series of All-Star Concert videos and will continue with programs that encourage young musicians in the community.

With mixed emotions about not staging Music Camp this year, the volunteers at look forward to greeting traditional music enthusiasts at these and other events in 2018, and to welcoming new and returning faculty and students to a renewed, better-than-ever Music Camp on the Canal in 2019.