WINDSOR, N.S. — Metal heads were rocking out to the sounds of some of the best Maritime heavy metal and hard rock groups July 6-7, while a few hundred metres away, other music lovers grooved to blues and folk tunes at a festival right next door.
The Smokin' Blues Fest and the Maritime Metal and Hard Rock Festival were held in Windsor July 6-7 at the Hants County Exhibition Grounds. The combined event, which draws hundreds of people to town each summer, saw well-known acts as well as up-and-coming performers.
The festivals are the brainchild of Jay Chetwynd.
“What Jay's doing with combining the metal and the blues fest — it's a great idea. I think it's important to support the music, the artists and these bands,” said Jake Smith, of Moe's Music School in Windsor.
“It's kind of cool too because blues music kind of spawned metal if you go way back... Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden and Metallica — it all comes from the blues, believe it or not,” Smith continued.
“It's cool that these two festivals are combined together. It's really awesome.”
Smith served as one of the judges for the Maritime Metal and Hard Rock Festival's battle of the bands.
Halifax's alternative rock group Dazor was awarded the coveted prize. Dazor, a group formed in 2016, competed against six other bands – all trying to land a time slot in next year's music showcase.
“Dazor were great. They had a really great rock sound, reminiscent of the Foo Fighters and early grunge,” said Smith.
The metal festival featured about two dozen bands, including the likes of Woodstock's Monteith, Miramichi's Lionsault and Halifax's Last Call Chernobyl. The special guests were Obey the Brave, from Ottawa. The blues festival featured such acts as John Campbelljohn, Curtis Matheson, Beauwater, Stonehouse, and the Kendra Gale Band.
Chetwynd spoke to the crowd gathered at the metal festival following the battle of the bands. He explained how there's still a negative stigma associated with metal and hard rock and thanked the crowd for continuing to show that they're “having fun, being nice and treating everybody great. They're spending money. They're keeping the place clean.” He said that all goes towards helping keep the festival alive and well.
This year marked the Maritime Metal and Hard Rock Festival's sixth anniversary.
“We're in the middle of Nova Scotia. It's never going to be the Montebello Rock Fest. It's never been a delusional dream of ours or anything like that. But we can have our own little East Coast... rock fest,” he said, to which the crowd cheered.