by i.k. macleod
The Media Choice Award for the best mainstage showcase went to Gordie Sampson. Once again, Mr. Sampson left a capacity crowd mesmorized, but this time it was the Ballroom at the Beau that were treated. He ripped through a couple of killer original tunes that sounded like The Band, but from Big Pond. He really struck a chord with the crowd, as the standing ovation proved, and is responsible for creating yet another reason to be proud to be from Cape Breton on this weekend.
Later on that evening, I happened upon a room chock full of musical activity. Fergus O’Byrne was belting out song after song with his strong and distinctive voice, while Jerry O’Neil would dazzle the unsuspected listeners with what appears to be the closest thing to improv celtic fiddle. Mary Jane Lamond joined in on a beautiful Gaelic number and Wally MacAulay treated us to a couple of classic songs. Paul MacNeil blasted out a few tunes on his pipes while I wondered how many people were actually going to fit into this room…20…25…30?
I retired rather early that night, so I missed most of the excitement. It turned out to be an entertaining side show that any fan would regret missing…Alan Doyle of Great Big Sea fame, Gordie Sampson, Allie Bennet, and countless others…