The long days of summer are a great time for festivals, a fact the Village of Kennetcook, NS knows well. The community held their seventh annual Summerfest from June 20 through 23, with their main stage concert on June 22.
Summerfest, a cultural and music festival organized by the Kennetcook Society for Economic & Environmental Development (KSEED), was begun “to provide community involvement and enjoyment.” The non-profit group, organized in 2007, is committed to providing community spirit, while increasing tourism and business opportunities for the area and taking “a leadership role in the rejuvenation of our rural communities through economic and environmental development focusing on our culture and heritage.”
This four day event featured a wide variety of activities for all ages. There were BBQs, an evening of bluegrass music, a parade, the Kennetcook Karaoke Idol singing competition, pony rides, angel readings, farmer’s market vendors, a rubber duck race and scavenger hunt, among many other events.
After losing their bass player to a motorcycle accident in 2011, Rik Reese & Neon Highway rebounded with a new lineup and continued to take the world of country music by storm. Nicknamed the “KISS of Country,” their sound is described as “hard-rockin’, [butt]-kickin’, in-your-face country with a goal to drive the audience [crazy].”
Their CD, “Mama Raised a Good Boy,” has been nominated for several awards including Country Music News’ Top 12 Canadian Country Album of the Year and being included on the same organization’s Canadian Country Albums of the Decade List.
The band has gotten the attention of some of the biggest names in country music. This year alone they will open shows for Kenny Chesney, The Dixie Chicks and Ricky Skaggs, while in the past they’ve played with Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum and Alabama.
Kim McCulloch, KSEED’s secretary, says they got word out about the event with their Web site, free radio spots and local advertising in Lisa’s Web, Weekly Press and Hants Journal. According to McCulloch, organizing a festival such as this presents some unique challenges that can be overcome with a bit of thought.
“With festivals, you never know what vendors will actually show up that day, so book more than you really need,” she explains. “Maintain a good sponsorship base and network through people you know, [because] you just never know where connections [could be] made. [Also], you can do nothing about the weather, so try to have events that are less affected by rain [since] it is going to happen!”