Drinks everyone, smiles . . . Welcome to fantasy island.
By all accounts, Celtic Colours was an international success…as usual. I was most impressed the opening weekend of the festival by Gobblefest 7. A pile of musicians happily collided that Thanksggiving weekend and reaffirmed that Cape Breton’s world famous Traditional Music is alive and well, carrying on the tradition that on Cape Breton Island, people get together to make music. I got to see bands and players that I used to read about in old What’s Goin On magazines. Bands like ’77 Impala Special, with Lachie MacDonald and Daniel Baldwin and of course Hector and Harry. And bands who are constantly playing today like Rock Ranger with Baldwin, Jay Smith and Mike Morrison. And Morrison with MacDonald and Gary Addicott joined by Mike Gabriel, the sorceror’s apprentice on the theremin to close a Sunday afternoon Dog Fight set.
It was really cool to see photographers climbing all over the place trying to get just the right shot and some comprehensive documentary work being done. The merch-table was busy. Music fans of all ages were buying CDs, t-shirts, stickers and iron-ons. That’s the kind of economic spin-off investment in the arts that we need. And the way to work together to make it all happen.
The weekend left an impression, it being Thanksgiving and Steven and Colleen’s wedding party and all. The music came around completely with a Carlo Spinazzola, Scott Brown, Matt Foulds and Kelley Edwards session to boot at the party.
At Gobblefest I got see the music seven years later, how it’s developed into this elusive scene. Sunfish played at the first Gobblefest and broke up five years ago. The Friday night of Gobblefest 7, Jay Smith played guitar with Sunfish. He used to sneak into the Capri to see them play. And there were plenty of people there who may never have seen Sunfish play before, only heard the cassette and Mola Mola. And among the crowd, they quickly sold all the freshly burned CD copies of a demo from 1995. It left me wondering where it would all end up, once these old songs really started sinking in.