Busy summer on tap at Inverness County Centre for the Arts


INVERNESS: A new concert series at the Inverness County Centre for the Arts (ICCA) will have its inaugural show later this month, with plans to run through August.

“It’s going to be a good time in Inverness,” Inverness Sunset Series organizer Erinn Fraser told The Reporter.

“We are very excited to offer a series of this calibre in our inaugural year,” said ICCA Executive Director Ash Young. “We can’t wait to see our community and visitors out in a safe environment enjoying live music in the beautiful Inverness sunset.”

The first show in the Inverness Sunset Series will take place on July 24 at the ICCA with an opening ceremony scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. featuring We’koqma’q First Nation Councillor Tiny Cremo.

The acts for the show will be SHiFT FROM THA 902, Andre Pettipas & The Giants, as well as The Town Heroes.

“It goes on and it gets more exciting, but that’s a pretty good kick-off,” Fraser told The Reporter. “The Town Heroes, they’re hometown boys; they kept us entertained through COVID and raised over $10,000 for Nova Scotia charities, so you couldn’t choose a better band to start it off. Andre has a lot going on with a new album out.”

The Town Heroes recently released their single “Fuse” from their upcoming album, Home, set for release on Aug. 20.

“We’re incredibly excited to get to play a rock show at home,” Michael S. Ryan, the lead singer of the Town Heroes, stated. “It means a lot to have the venue and opportunity to play in Inverness again. Our new album out in August is a concept album about a week home in Inverness during the summer. It’s something everyone from small towns in Cape Breton can hopefully relate to and feels appropriate to come home and play some of the songs from it in the place that inspired it.”

SHiFT FROM THA 902 is coming off a recent collaboration with Emma Stevens, Morgan Toney and Keith Mullins called WELA’LIN, meaning thank you in the Miꞌkmaq language, which gained some attention. He recently released “What An Age To Be in,” Featuring JRDN and DJ IV.

“I’m just happy I get to perform again,” he stated.

Andre Pettipas and the Giants will hit the stage after SHiFT for some “Grease Coast Rock N’ Roll.” They just released their new album, No Fools No Fun.

“We’re thrilled to visit this beautiful part of the island and help kick off the fantastic inaugural Inverness Sunset Series,” lead singer Andre Pettipas said. ‘We’ve got a brand new album (No Fools No Fun) we’re supporting and can’t wait to see everyone in Inverness.”

On July 31, Barn Bhreagh (Moran Toney, Keith Mullins, Isabelle Samson, and Jesse Cox) is slated to perform. The headlining act for this show is ECMA winner and Juno nominee Beòlach.

“Morgan lives close to me so I’ve been following him closely, and I don’t think you could find a nicer human being,” Fraser said. “Glad to have him on board. Keith’s an old pro, Isabella and Jesse, they’re new to my ears so I like to be able to see new performers. I’m happy to have them on there.”

On August 7 Colette Deveaux, T. Thomason and Joel Plaskett are on the musical menu. Recently named the 2021 ECMA Fan Choice Entertainer of the Year winner, Thomason recently released his Part II Project, featuring Rose Cousins, Ria Mae, Ivan Coyote, and Sarah McLachlan.

Juno nominated and 2021 ECMA Rising Star Recording of the Year winner Mike McKenna Jr. and Celtic super-group Còig are on the bill for August 14.

On August 21, the acts will be Taylor Jensen, Cuban classical violinist Alisaon Enríquez (featuring Augusto Enríquez), and Rachel Beck from PEI.

“(Beck) has a great sound,” Fraser noted. “She was recently up for a lot of ECMAs as well. She’s a real lovely person with a really great sound. I’m personally super-stoked to see her because I haven’t seen her perform yet.”

The series will conclude on August 28 with rock and traditional Cape Breton Celtic band Hauler, and Matt Andersen.

“I’m really happy with the lineup,” Fraser said. “I know most of them personally, and they’re all wonderful people. When you get into Beòlach and Còig, they’re talking about Cape Breton bands that are world-renowned, so we’re so fortunate to have them, one living here and two being able to perform.”

In addition to music, the Inverness County Centre for the Arts will also present Newfoundland comedian Matt Wright with opener Eskasoni’s Clifton Cremo on July 28 at 8 p.m.

This event is part of Wright’s east coast summer tour for 2021.

“I have been on my couch for two years and I can’t wait to tell jokes in Inverness,” said Wright.

Originally from Newfoundland and Labrador, Wright is a JUNO Award-nominated Canadian stand-up comedian, writer, actor and director.

Wright has appeared on two Just for Laughs Galas (Laverne Cox 2017 and Ken Jeong 2018), CBC’s The Debaters, the Winnipeg Comedy Festival, and the Halifax Comedy Festival. As a television writer, he has written for five seasons on This Hour Has 22 Minutes (where he was nominated for a Canadian Screen Award for Best Writing) and has also written for Still Standing.

In just two short years, Cremo became a fixture in the Nova Scotia comedy scene through his deft brand of storytelling and wry absurdism. Nothing is off limits, particularly when it concerns family and his First Nations heritage. Whether he’s on stage at a comedy club, a local bar, or even a funeral (seriously), Cremo always manages to bring the laughs.

Fraser added that the calendar is starting to open up, and as soon as the provincial government announced stage 4 of the re-opening plan, they were able to get going.

“We didn’t over-project. Ash Young looked at the projections from last year and determined that would be a safe bet and not to exceed it. We’re not going to have a huge capacity, at this event, it should be quite charming. If other restrictions lift, then that would be wonderful,” she added. “Right now we’re comfortable with our little show and making sure that all the health protocols are being taken care of.”