Songwriters Showcase to highlight Saturday of Nova Scotia Music Fest

Ray Mattie, executive director of Nova Scotia Summer Fest, officially launched the event on January 23 in Antigonish.

ANTIGONISH: Six more names were added to the inaugural line-up of performers for Nova Scotia’s newest music festival.

On April 4 in Antigonish, Nova Scotia Music Fest organizer Ray Mattie unveiled a songwriter’s showcase, which will take place on the second day of the festival and will be hosted by Heather Rankin, a high profile member of The Rankin Family.

Rankin, a Juno Award and multiple East Coast Music Award winner will showcase five artists who will perform two original songs each. A six-piece band will back Rankin up as she performs a few of her big hits before backing up the five acts in the showcase.

Toronto-based folk group The Good Lovelies; Pineo & Lobe, the Halifax-based electronic duo; multiple ECMA and Music Nova Scotia winners Hillsburn; McGuinty, who have been performing for 40-years across Nova Scotia; and Cape Breton-based ECMA Alternative Rock Album winners Slowcoaster – have all been added to the inaugural line-up.

The artist will come out and be given the stage, something Mattie said doesn’t happen a lot of the time, as new acts never get the chance to perform with a phenomenal band behind them and to feel what it’s like to be on a big stage.

In addition to providing a larger performance list, Mattie also unveiled two new sponsorship partnerships with Nova Scotia Spirit Co. and Garrison Brewing.

“Headquartered out of Pictou, Nova Scotia Spirit Co. will be on site providing the white rum, vodka, and gin, handling all of the spirit aspects and setting up a really unique feature on their products,” he advised. “Garrison Brewing, out of Halifax is going to be our main brewer, and the key here is that, I was talking originally with the larger breweries and it became very clear they didn’t understand what we were trying to do, market Nova Scotia products here.”

Mattie advised he wants to focus on building Nova Scotia products, music, food, and culture under the Nova Scotia Summer Fest umbrella.

“As a musician I’ve sat in the songwriters circles, they work, but I’m trying to do something new, that’s what it boils down to,” he said. “They can feel what it’s like to have a finished product of their music on a stage through a big sound system, with a big crowd; it’s brutally hard to start in this business, and I wish I had that chance.”

Canadian Association for Community Living in Antigonish will be the direct beneficiary of the parking fees, which will be $10, and have easy access to the site via professionally groomed trails.

Preparations for the event are well underway; the onsite layout within the trail system has begun, merchandise is being designed, and work has started on a product line including t-shirts, hats and a variety of flasks and flags, as well the camping layout is being designed, and the vendor application is now open. Mattie said organizers didn’t want to oversell the price, but being at Keppoch allows them to expand the size and keep the costs down.

The Nova Scotia Summer Fest Association is a non-profit corporation with a mandate to develop and grow the town and county of Antigonish into a world-class event and eco-tourism destination. As a social enterprise, the profits generated from the festival will go back to create youth summer music camps the following year; with the first round of camp slated for 2020.

Tickets can be purchased at MacKinnon’s Pharmacy, 4U Convenience at StFX, through any TicketPro locations or the Nova Scotia Summer Fest Web site at: