Swinging good bluegrass time ahead

IROQUOIS – Chair of the annual Galop Canal Bluegrass Festival, Barb Rabideau, predicts that the campers will be rolling to the Iroquois Point as early as Wednesday afternoon, getting ready for a great musical weekend up at the Locks, June 15-17.

“We’re going to have a very full house at the campsite this year,” Rabideau said. “We actually made space for 20-25 additional trailers, but I expect those spots to be gone soon too.

The phone is ringing off the hook with calls from Sudbury to Timbuktu,” she added, laughing.

Organizers for one of the best Bluegrass Festivals around are predicting a great weekend, featuring some outstanding bluegrass performers.

“We’re hoping for a lot of day pass people to come up and join us,” said Rabideau. “Visitors don’t have to worry about the weather. We have shade/rain tarps already on site.”

Nothin’ Fancy, an inter-nationally acclaimed band, will be a headliner at the annual festival.

The group has a huge fan base, and many of those fans are making the journey to Iroquois.

The Virginia-based band will be joined, throughout the weekend, by nine other great groups from all over the region.

“These bands are all just fantastic,” Rabideau said. “The performers are talented and outgoing. Terrific live music. We are also bringing in bands with younger performers to appeal to young people out there.

One of the banjo players, with South East Mountain, Tyler Comeau, is only 14 years old and he is incredible.”

As part of the bluegrass celebration, Nothin’ Fancy will be running free workshops during the day on Saturday.

“You will have pros teaching participants on the mandolin, the fiddle and possibly banjo and guitar too. Anyone can participate in these workshops. It’s just impressive how much people can learn at a workshop. As a result, the sessions tend to be full houses.”

Emcee for the weekend will be the popular Rick Lebren.

“Rick is from the Ottawa Valley, and he is an experienced, knowledgeable host, with a strong background in this music.”

Food will be handled by L&J Lunchbox, who will serve up two full dinner specials on site for visitors.

This year, sound is being supplied by MVSL Productions out of Ottawa who handle many of the major Festivals.

Rabideau said that the volunteers who turn out for the festival are fantastic.

“BMO employees, from Iroquois, Morrisburg and Prescott will be manning our gates all day on Saturday.”

“I find that our festival is becoming better known than ever in this our 7th year.”

There will be many returnees in the audience, but also a lot of newcomers are scheduled to take in the event.

The Iroquois festival is now drawing from Montreal, Ottawa, St. Catherines, and extensively from Quebec and Ontario, with many music lovers making the journey from the United States. Gates open for the 7th annual Galop Canal Bluegrass Festival at noon, Wednesday, June 14. Day passes will be available right at the gate.

“Just come out and have a great weekend on the St. Lawrence,” said Rabideau. “The music and location are the best.”