Bluegrass festival moving from East Stewiacke to Bible Hill

April 2, 2009

BIBLE HILL – Canada’s oldest bluegrass festival will be moving to the Nova Scotia Provincial Exhibition grounds in Bible Hill this summer.
The Nova Scotia Bluegrass and Oldtime Music Festival, held in East Stewiacke since 2005, will call the Agridome home July 24 to 26.
About 700 to 1,000 people usually attend the 37-year-old event but organizers are hoping for at least 1,500 spectators this year.
Charlie MacKenzie, chairman of the music festival and head event organizer, cited weather and changing demographics for the change in venue.
“The site wasn’t working for us so we had to look at something different,” he said. “The weather last year played havoc.”
Aside from the weather, the East Stewiacke venue was a beautiful spot, MacKenzie added.
“You had the river flowing next to you, that sort of thing. But if it rains, the crowd stays away.”
The Agridome will allow for an outdoor experience but bluegrass fans will be protected from the elements.
“Regardless of the weather, they’ll be under a nice translucent roof,” MacKenzie said. “We’re going to have artificial turf on the floor.”
The venues in the past have had weather protection for the crowd, usually a solid or tent roof. But rain and wind still dampened the festival events.
“Our demographics (aging fan base) are changing,” MacKenzie added with a chuckle. “And they don’t want to sit in the rain.”
Dan Fraser, the president of the Downeast Bluegrass & Oldtime Music Society, said they have wanted to move the festival for a number of years and Truro/Bible Hill seemed like a prime location.
“We have more camping sites with power and water in Truro,” Fraser said. “Other than that, I don’t think there’s going to be a whole lot of changes.”
Altering the festival’s venue will make for a better experience for everyone attending, Fraser explained.
“We feel it’ll be considerably bigger in Truro.”
Lloyd MacPhee, the owner of the East Stewiacke property where the festival was held for the past four years, said the event might be better off in its new location.
“We run our festivals different than they do. Some of the stuff they do – people don’t like the way they run the festival.”
Stewiacke mayor Dereck Rhoddy wasn’t aware of the event’s relocation until being notified by the Truro Daily News.
“I’m just a little bit disappointed,” said Rhoddy. “It’ll mean a loss to the economy in our area for that weekend. I’m really disappointed that they made that decision.
“We don’t really have a lot of attractions in Stewiacke. Opportunities like this are definitely a great impact.”
The exhibition grounds in Bible Hill will also host the annual Dutch Mason Blues Festival Aug. 7 to 9.
More information on the Bluegrass & Oldtime Music Festival can be found at downeastgrass.com.

(This story was published in the April 1, 2009 issue of the Truro Daily News.)

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2 Responses to “Bluegrass festival moving from East Stewiacke to Bible Hill”

  1. Nice article found your site searching in bing I think you could have taken a more neutral view.

  2. Jill said

    Thanks for the feedback. Have any suggestions for making it more neutral? Because simply saying “you could have taken a more neutral view” isn’t very helpful.

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