MABOU: Nova Scotia’s diverse music scene will be on display this summer at Strathspey Place.
Strathspey Place Performing Arts Centre is set to host its first CURRENTS Multicultural Festival on Thursday evenings from July 12 to August 23.
“The idea is to bring in a variety of genres of music from the beginning of the summer through to the end,” said Tracey MacNeil, executive director for Strathspey Place.
MacNeil says the festival was developed in part to take advantage of increased traffic in the area during the summer months.
“If all the pieces to the puzzle add up, we should be able to bring some people in and help along with the sustainability of Strathspey,” said MacNeil.
“The other piece is that we’ve been trying to develop a second venue at Strathspey.”
The Thursday evening performances will feature a more informal atmosphere with audience members seated on stage with the musicians. The concerts will feature a cash bar where visitors can experience some of Nova Scotia’s local brews, including products from Big Spruce and Cape Breton Brewing. The performances will be open to people of all pages.
MacNeil says the stage venue, which seats between 100 and 110 people offers a more intimate setting than the traditional auditorium seating.
“We’re looking for more of an experience-based night,” she said.
“When you’re sitting in the main theatre, you’re such a distance away and the stage is up so high, it seems like the entertainers are in a different world. This way, you’re very much a part of it. You’re actually talking with them.”
The shows will feature a range of genres from pop-rock to traditional, and will include a variety of artists reflecting Nova Scotia’s diverse cultural traditions. Audiences will hear Acadian and Métis influences from artists such as Maxim and Jarvais Cormier, as well as traditional Celtic music from musicians including Brent Aucoin, Scott Macmillan and Brian Doyle. Songwriters such as Sean McCann will perform original music reflecting their own cultural backgrounds.
“You’re going to hear some gospel with Reeny Smith. Her music was really influenced heavily as a child by her local church,” said MacNeil. “Then you’ve got up-and-coming singer-songwriters as well, like Dave Sampson, who does a lot of his own stuff.”
MacNeil said audiences will hear first-hand how artists’ backgrounds have shaped their music.
“What you’re going to hear is representation from multi-cultural Nova Scotia,” she said.
“The thing most of these artists all have in common is that their original material is really directed from their upbringing and community.”
Ticket information and a complete lineup of artists can be found at: strathspeyplace.com.