Cornwall Ontario – Over a thousand people enjoyed the first ever Cornwall Music Fest which took place Saturday at the Nav Centre. This was the largest outdoor music festival Cornwall has seen since Lift-off a few years ago.
Crash Test Dummies frontman Brad Roberts co-headlined the event. He is best known as the lead singer and guitarist of the three time Grammy nominated band and Juno Award winning band the Crash Test Dummies. His baritone voice is memorable on such hit songs as “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm”, “Superman’s Song”, and “God Shuffled His Feet”. In the early 90’s the band had heavy rotation on the radio, MTV, and Much Music – and their albums went platinum. They sold over 10 million albums worldwide.
Brad Roberts, under the Crash Test Dummies banner, released a new song before the start of his first tour in five years. The song entitled “I’ll Be Peaceful Then” was released directly to the internet.
“It’s a song that I wanted to put out there for people to hear, while I’m still here. It didn’t get serviced to radio. People don’t feel they have to put out an album anymore. I put the song out online. It never became a big hit. I don’t have the interest at this point. I don’t make money selling records, I make more money touring,” Brad Roberts pointed out.
Brad Roberts also pointed out a rainbow along the St. Lawrence River that was visible from the Nav Centre. It had lightly rained for about a minute, before the weather cleared up for the rest of the evening.
Playing guitar with Brad Roberts was Murray Pulver who had toured with Doc Walker for about 8 years.
The duet finished their set with “Superman’s Song”, but came back for an encore and played the smash hit “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm” much to the delight of the audience.
Folk rock artist and Great Big Sea alumni Sean McCann also headlined the inaugural Cornwall MusicFest. Sean McCann, aka “The Shanty Man”, was born and raised in Newfoundland, but now resides in nearby Ottawa Ontario.
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 addiction 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”, said Sean McCann before the concert.
He delivered just that.
Rounding out the lineup was The Paul Deslauriers Band (also headlining), plus Eagles tribute band 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.
Award winning Blues musician Paul Deslauriers was pleased that an outdoor music festival finally returned to Cornwall.
“I’m truly pleased to see the return of an outdoor music festival in Cornwall. We were thrilled to play Lift-Off for the first time two summers ago, not knowing it would be the last edition, so obviously we were sad to see it go. It’s great to see Jason Mitchell and Davey Bedard carry the torch over and create Cornwall MusicFest. I’m quite pleased to be working with these two dynamic entrepreneurs again who have such a passion for music and for the City of Cornwall. Festival concerts are often the highlight of our summer tours not only for the wonderful crowds we get to play to, but also for some of the great artists we get a chance to hear on the same bill. Obviously, I’m proud to be a hometown boy sharing the bill with members of these two legendary Canadian bands,” said Paul Deslauriers before the concert.
Organizers Davey Bedard and Jason Mitchell of Limelight Entertainment worked hard behind the scenes to make this event possible.
“Cornwall Music Fest 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.
For more information on Cornwall Music Fest visit their website.