Cornwall Ontario — Folk rock artist and Great Big Sea alumni Sean McCann will be headlining the inaugural Cornwall MusicFest which takes place on Saturday August 20th outside at the Nav Centre.
Sean McCann, aka “The Shanty Man”, was born and raised in Newfoundland. Growing up in St. John’s has influenced his song-writing.
“St. John’s is the New Orleans of Canada. It is made of music and liquor and my music was forged in that fire”, Sean McCann proclaimed.
Sean McCann was a founding member of Great Big Sea, a band that has sold millions of albums, has countless hit songs, and has toured around the world. However after 20 years Sean realized he had to stop. He took a step back, he quit drinking, confronted issues of abuse, and the healing process has now begun.
“I am still looking, and I have come to embrace the truth that I always will be. At least now I am wide awake, so I can see where I am going, and I am open and unafraid of whatever might be next”, Sean McCann disclosed.
He still has fond memories of being in Great Big Sea, especially in the formative years when the band was just starting out.
“My fondest memories are all from the very early days when it was just the 4 of us (with Darrell Power on bass) and we did everything by ourselves. We didn’t have an agent or a manager or a label, but we were still a force to be reckoned with. I am very proud of what we were able to accomplish when we were all working together towards the same goal”, Sean McCann recounts.
In 2014 Sean McCann released “Help Your Self” produced by Joel Plaskett. Through the music we hear the story of a man facing his demons and over coming them. The songs helped him deal with issues of addition and to find strength in pain.
“In my 20 years and 11 studio recordings with Great Big Sea, not one track was ever recorded “live off the floor” which is a shame because we were a great live band. Joel Plaskett’s process was completely the opposite. Every song was recorded live without digital assistance and immediately committed to 2 inch analog tape. There was no “Auto Tune” button. I was forced as an artist to remain completely open and focused which is how I am trying to live my life today”.
Music is like therapy for Sean McCann, but what does that mean for music fans?
“Fans can expect to experience a much lighter “me”. I am doing “the work” and am reconnecting with the world in a far more meaningful way. And I love my job”, says Sean McCann.
Also headlining Cornwall Musicfest is Brad Roberts best known as the lead singer and guitarist of the Juno Award winning band the Crash Test Dummies. His baritone vocals are rememberable on such hit songs as “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm”, “Superman’s Song”, “Afternoons & Coffeespoons”, and “The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead”.
Rounding out the lineup is The Paul Deslauriers Band (also headlining), plus an Eagles Tribute Band named One of These Nights, Cardboard Crowns, The Bard of Cornwall Jesse Ferguson, Nick Seguin, Mena Hardy, Bruce Ciccarelli, Tommy Heatley, Ryan & Amanda, and Chris Benton. There are twelve bands and three stages in total.
Organizers Davey Bedard and Jason Mitchell of Limelight Entertainment have partnered up with the Nav Centre and Corus Entertainment to make this event possible.
“Cornwall Musicfest is based on a vision of quality musical performances, an awesome atmosphere, and fun and enjoyment appropriate for a big audience”, says co-founder Davey Bedard.
Tickets for Cornwall Musicfest are $30 in advance or $40 at the gate the day of the show. The event is licensed and 19+, and alcoholic beverages will be permitted throughout the festival site.