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Visitors to 2017 Hantsport Music Festival 'blown away' by hospitality, music


Published on July 23, 2017

Published on 23 July 2017

Young and old alike boogied on the dance floor when Signal Hill took the stage.

Photos by Carole Morris-Underhill

Published on 23 July 2017

Curtis Matheson wowed the crowd when he played Texas Flood with his guitar behind his back.

Photos by Carole Morris-Underhill

Published on 23 July 2017

This isn't the first time Curtis Matheson has taken the stage at the Hantsport Music Festival.

Photos by Carole Morris-Underhill

Published on 23 July 2017

About eight Cape Bretoners attended the 2017 Hantsport Music Festival.

Photos by Carole Morris-Underhill

Published on 23 July 2017

The sound guys share a laugh.

Photos by Carole Morris-Underhill

Published on 23 July 2017

Phoebe McLean and Darlene Peters chat while busting a move on the dance floor.

Photos by Carole Morris-Underhill

Published on 23 July 2017

This group of women travelled from Bridgewater to take part in the Hantsport Music Festival. Pictured are, from left, Barbara Smith, Gloria Cox, Terri Anctil, Darlene Peters, and Phoebe McLean.

Photos by Carole Morris-Underhill

Published on 23 July 2017

Hantsport's Randy Carey, a mainstay at the festival, whistles as Curtis Matheson shreds the guitar during his final set.

Photos by Carole Morris-Underhill

Published on 23 July 2017

Co-chairs Kevin Guptell and Raye Myles share a laugh. The pair contribute countless hours to making sure the Hantsport Music Festival is a roaring success each year.

Photos by Carole Morris-Underhill

Published on 23 July 2017

Hantsport Music Festival co-chair Kevin Guptell thanks the community and guests for continuing to support their day-long fundraising concert.

Photos by Carole Morris-Underhill

Published on 23 July 2017

Musician Jen Miller interrupts Hantsport Music Festival co-chair Kevin Guptell to playfully correct how she came to be invited to perform at the popular festival.

Photos by Carole Morris-Underhill

Published on 23 July 2017

Jen Miller's country, folk music was well received at this year's Hantsport Music Festival.

Photos by Carole Morris-Underhill

Published on 23 July 2017

Jen Miller's country, folk music was well received at this year's Hantsport Music Festival.

Photos by Carole Morris-Underhill

Published on 23 July 2017

Ed MacDonald, of Eddy's Basement and the No Name Blues Band, and Jen Davison said they were thoroughly enjoying the 2017 Hantsport Music Festival line up. MacDonald played with the first act to take the stage. He'll be playing again July 29 at the blues festival in Windsor.

Photos by Carole Morris-Underhill

Published on 23 July 2017

Amanda Jackson, from Prince Edward Island, belts out an original tune. The Amanda Jackson Band was the second to last act during the 2017 Hantsport Music Festival.

Photos by Carole Morris-Underhill

Published on 23 July 2017

Amanda Jackson, from Prince Edward Island, belts out an original tune. The Amanda Jackson Band was the second to last act during the 2017 Hantsport Music Festival.

Photos by Carole Morris-Underhill

Published on 23 July 2017

Amanda Jackson autographs the shirt of a new fan, Grace Lewis.

Photos by Carole Morris-Underhill

Published on 23 July 2017

Amanda Jackson found just enough space to sign her name on eight-year-old Olivia Kerr's shirt.

Photos by Carole Morris-Underhill

Published on 23 July 2017

Amanda Jackson made a few new fans while performing at the Hantsport Music Festival. Olivia Kerr and Grace Lewis popped backstage in hopes of meeting the artist.

Photos by Carole Morris-Underhill

Published on 23 July 2017

Todd MacLean, who performs with the Amanda Jackson Band, was asked to sign the Cape Breton Island flag.

Photos by Carole Morris-Underhill

Published on 23 July 2017

Prince Edward Island musician Todd MacLean asked Hughina MacDougall and Cathy McNamara for directions to the Hantsport Music Festival, not knowing they weren't locals. Following his set, he met the ladies who are from Cape Breton but knew where to send MacLean.

Photos by Carole Morris-Underhill

Published on 23 July 2017

Prince Edward Island musician Todd MacLean meets Grace Lewis, a young fan who was eager to get her shirt autographed by the members of the Amanda Jackson Band.

Photos by Carole Morris-Underhill

Published on 23 July 2017

This chair was set out in memory of the late Mary Louise Brewster, a Hantsport resident who loved music.

Photos by Carole Morris-Underhill

Published on 23 July 2017

Signal Hill front man Jason Campbell belts out The Proclaimers' hit, I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles), much to the audience's delight.

Photos by Carole Morris-Underhill

Published on 23 July 2017

Signal Hill front man Jason Campbell shows off his guitar skills during one of their songs. Signal Hill was the festival's headliner.

Photos by Carole Morris-Underhill

HANTSPORT, N.S. — They may 'come from away' but the music lovers that converge in the Haven of Hospitality for its annual music festival say they're made to feel like they're right at home in Hantsport.

“We've come here the last three years. We come because the people are amazing; the people are friendly,” said Cathy McNamara, who is already looking forward to making the trek from Cape Breton next year.

“It's so Cape Bretonish. We can't put it any other way.”

Her best friend, Hughina MacDougall agrees.

“It's just like home,” she said.

The pair have become a bit of a staple at the Hantsport Music Festival. Each year, they arrive waving a Cape Breton Island flag and cheering on the performers.

“I'm blown away. When we leave the field, the garbage is picked up, people are all happy go lucky... It's amazing,” McNamara said.

“All the bands were phenomenal. We've loved it every year, but this year, it was over the top. We really, really enjoyed it.”

And even though they aren't from the former town, they still know how to give directions. That's how the Cape Bretoners, while en route to the liquor store, met Todd MacLean, a highly sought-after multi-instrumentalist from Belfast, Prince Edward Island.

“I thought that was pretty cute that of all the people he could've chose to stop and ask for directions, it's my best friend and me,” she said with a laugh.

MacLean, who performs with the Amanda Jackson Band, said he enjoys asking for directions when he arrives in a new community.

“It was an adventure getting here but it just goes to show you it's more fun to actually just talk to people... to find out how to get to places,” said MacLean.

“We've created a story this way. I met them, they're from Cape Breton, it's hilarious that they're not actually from the town but they gave me directions. I got to sign the flag that they had,” he said.

The Amanda Jackson Band was the second to last act to take the stage during the 10-hour festival.

MacLean said he had “a blast” performing and would love to return to play again.

“I just think it's a beautiful thing to do in the mid-summer,” said MacLean. “For a town this size, it's quite a big festival to put on. All the volunteers – that's what makes it happen. I really applaud Hantsport and the community for putting this on. It rocks.”

Grace Lewis lets the music move her as the Amanda Jackson Band performs.
Carole Morris-Underhill

Signal Hill headlined the show. Other acts included the No Name Blues Band, Willie Stratton, the Curtis Matheson Band, the Jen Miller Band, and East Hants' Makayla Lynn Band.

Phoebe McLean is another 'come from away' that thoroughly enjoys the festival.

Along with her friends Darlene Peters, Gloria Cox, Barbara Smith and Terri Anctil, the crew purchases early bird passes and drives up from Bridgewater. They're usually among the first at the gate waiting for the Foundry Field grounds to open at 10 a.m.

“It's lovely. The music is good; the food is excellent,” said McLean. “They started selling salads last year. We all love salads. And everyone is so friendly. I think that's the Valley way.”

McLean said event co-ordinator Kevin Guptell “runs a tight ship” and makes sure the festival is top notch for everyone attending.

Guptell has been actively involved in organizing the festival since its inception in 2014. This year's board consists of himself and co-chair Raye Myles, Teresa Rooney, Jane Kerr and Mike Guptell.

As the festival wound down, Guptell said they were still tabulating the total number of people who passed through the gates. That figure, combined with sales of beer, food, t-shirts – every bit of profit made July 23 – will then be divvied up and donated back to the community.

“Every dollar that's raised here today will get split six ways evenly. And when I say every dollar, (it's) every dollar that we get on the ticket gate, every dollar from every t-shirt, every bit of profit,” said Guptell as he explained the process to the festival goers. “Every bit of profit from a hamburger, every bit of profit from a beer goes back to this community. And we are proud of that.”

The following groups will benefit from the monies raised at the 2017 festival: Hantsport and District Food Bank, Hantsport Memorial Community Centre, Hantsport Minor Ball Association, Hantsport Shamrocks, Hantsport and Area Historical Society, and the Hantsport and L.E.Shaw Home and School Associations. All of these groups also volunteered their time, from selling food to checking for tickets.

Thanks to sponsors and in-kind donations, the festival is able to pay for all of the performers and event costs prior to the gate opening.

“Everything is paid for before the first band walks up on that stage,” said Guptell, thanking the many people and businesses that continue to donate to make the festival a success.

“Our plan is we will do this every year while this community supports us.”