The Stan Rogers Folk Festival is celebrating its tenth anniversary this weekend, with three days of song and revelry in the quiet Nova Scotia community of Canso. Once again, festival organizers are expecting thousands of fans from across the region and around the world to descend upon the small, coastal fishing town on the Province's Eastern Shore to share in the sights and sounds of some of the best in folk and roots music.
This year, StanFest will play host to an eclectic mix of local, national and international artists, including Richie Havens, Juan Martin, the Audreys, Valdy, Alfie Zappacoasta and the Stampeders. The region is also well represented this weekend, with the likes of George Canyon, Bruce Guthro, J.P Cormier, Matt Andersen, Charlie A'Court, Luke Doucet and several other notable local names taking centre stage.
For festival brainchild and artistic director, Troy Greencorn, the "little festival that could" has come a long way in a very short time. "It's a real good news story" says Greencorn from his festival office. "This has done wonders for the spirit of this people here over the last ten years." "After university, I came home to Canso and saw that things had changed drastically while I was away. The economic bottom had just fallen out of the region. I felt that since the town had given so much to me growing up, that it was time to give something back."
What began as an effort by Greencorn and a few friends to raise some much needed funds for the cash-strapped community has quietly blossomed into one of the Province's premier annual musical attractions. "We started small and have been doing everything ourselves since the festival's inception in 1996. From bringing sponsors on board, to getting the government and tourism industry involved, to booking acts and building stages, everything has been hands-on since day one.
And at the centre of the festival, says Greencorn, is the music of a man who continues to inspire all who are involved with the event. "Stan Rogers was one of the greatest Canadian storytellers of his time. He just loved to strap on the guitar and play his songs for people. He had this incredible way of bringing folks together with his music. And he's still doing it, even twenty-three years after his passing.
"I think that he would be both very honored and humbled to know that so many people continue to be touched by his music."
For more information, visit the festival's website at www.stanfest.com
Writer: Stephen Clare