Having a Good Scuff at the 10th Annual St. Anthony Music Festival

On August 5, 2011 myself and a friend had plans to take in the 10th Annual St. Anthony Music Festival. After a quick stop at Tim Horton‘s for an ice cap, we drove up to a little paradise with panoramic views, trails, restaurants and an emporium. It can be the peak of your experience. I was able to park my car and get a good view of the many icebergs.  There is also one lonely fisherman in the harbour, maybe he plans to catch a few cod-fish while the recreational fishery.

The reason for the trip was to take in the festivities and hear the diverse talents of our local musicians. They had a great line-up of performers that would appeal to everyone’s fancy, from Folk, Traditional Newfoundland & Labrador, Blue Grass, Country, Old Time Rock N’ Roll and other songs from popular culture. The Olympia was a buzz – there was a sense of happiness from the people in the room. I spoke with a number of people and even found some travelling to St. Anthony from Corner Brook, NL and even as far as Northern Quebec and Nunavut.

Addmission was just $10.00 to hear 9 different bands/performers. The schedule was as follows:

  • 7:30 PM Doors Open. Recorded Music
  • 8:00 PM The Pumper Boys
  • 9:00 PM Angela Byrne & Alphonsus Reardon
  • 9:30 PM Alphonsus Reardon & Albert Kinsella
  • 9:45 PM Wade Hillier
  • 10:15 PM Max Sexton
  • 10:30 PM Jade Gibbons
  • 11:00 PM Skipper Hotts Band
  • Midnight  Sam S., Adam R., Trevor N., & John H.
  • 1:30 AM – Close Dwayne Snow

Alphonsus Reardon & Angela Byrne perform some traditional music. She had a beautiful voice and was the only female performer during the whole show. Great job & hopefully next year more female singers will come out and participate. There certainly were no shortage of women in attendance, as they filled up the dance floor.

Wade Hillier has many talents – Viking re-enactor, story and joke teller, as well as a musician. I heard him the Friday prior performing at the Norseman Restaurant in L’Anse Aux Meadows. My two friends from California enjoyed his tunes, that they purchased a copy of his CD. I love the deep voice Wade has and especially love hearing his rendition of Aunt Martha’s Sheep and anything he does by Johnny Cash!

Ford Blake is one part of the Skipper Hotts Band, as he riddles out the tunes on the old squeeze box. I had the joy of hearing him and a part of his band play at Skipper Hotts Lounge in Straitsview the previous Friday as well. There my two friends would get Screeched-in (photos and story to follow). Tonight they had their full complement and their music pulled the people out on the floor to dance up a storm.

Prior to his performance I had asked him about playing the accordion. He had told me he started learning by playing on his father’s old one as a little boy, because you certainly were not allowed to use the good one back in those days. Drop by Skipper Hotts Lounge in Straitview and you too may be greeted by this self-taught talent and his band’s traditional music. The sound of music in Rural Newfoundland & Labrador is vibrant and even more so due to the people with the talent of being able to play the accordion.

Despite the chill in the air of the stadium, the night ended up drawing a large crowd. I have to commend the organizers as they handed out a schedule with important information, which included a floor plan. This helped people find the washroom, concession stand, bar, drink ticket area, seating area and designated smoking area. As well, the local Boys & Girls Club benefited from revenues sold at the concession stand. It was nice to see that monies would go back to a local cause and benefit the area’s youth.

The Music Festival brought a crowd of young and young-at-heart alike out to the floor. I had a great time meeting new people, catching up with old friends, having a glass of Screech & Coke, dancing and enjoying the life in the stadium created through music.

Great Job!

Live Rural NL –

Christopher C. Mitchelmore



  1. Post 9-11 Literature’ assumes that the New York tagredy impacted everyone but from Houston, Texas, it was no more (or less) traumatic than the destruction of New Orleans or the panicked flight from this city as Rita bore down on and threatened a similar fate for this city . Many of us here had never seen the Twin Towers, except in movies or as background in TV shows. From 1,600 miles away, the fall of the twin towers seemed as unreal as the recent war in Lebanon or the Rwandan genocide or the tsunami in Indonesia: regrettable tragedies, but in large part just media events’. This brings up three issues: empathy, politics/media, and the function of literature. And these operate within personal life, too! We will all die, but how many people have confronted the inevitible on an existential level? Life is an action movie in modern America because we CHOOSE not to live life on an existential level. How often do we meditate on the meaning of our lives, and graphically imagine how we will die (in all possible detail)? Most people consider deaths not their own as events’, to be recorded, catalogued, analyzed, and chatted about. Ditto, 9/11 It has been objectified. The novelist tries to put one into a situation, but more: he/she tries to make us emotionally react to that situation. Paradoxically, the more often we THINK about 9/11 (or Katrina) the further we alienate ourselves from the event. It becomes a rational construct, engraved in memory, chatted about on TV, analyzed by professors, and speechified by politicians. Most folks most of us choose to regard our world, not on an existential and personal level, but simply as a backdrop to our own lives and concerns deliberately oblivious to the commonplace that each of us is PART of that world and ultimately all destined for extinction. Consider a scenario: Many think that a nuclear weapon will inevitably be used against a city (possibly American, possibly not, what difference does it really make?). Do people really want to emotionally enter that scenario and all it implies? Do they want to imagine the texture of burnt babies, skin melting from survivors, etc? Obviously not (or such books would hit the best seller lists). We Moderns’ are in a state of denial and that may not be altogether a bad thing. Perhaps confronting the existential horror of many aspects of modern life is simply too much for us to endure

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