Vishtèn leads the field in Music P.E.I Week nominations

Mitch MacDonald
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Acadian group nominated for six Music P.E.I. Awards

Acadian folk-rock trio Vishtèn will be the group to watch during this year’s Music P.E.I. Awards.

The group, which combines Acadian and Celtic flavours, was announced Tuesday as having the most Music P.E.I. award nominations in this year’s 2016 May Run Music Festival and Great Canadian Song Conference.

Music P.E.I. president Gardiner MacNeill said the group is nominated for a total of six awards, including Entertainer of the Year and Album of the Year, during a press conference at The Guild Tuesday.

RELATED: The full list of nominations can be found here.

He also said the awards would continue its new format after being re-branded as a festival last year, effectively stretching out the awards and shows to include more venues across the province.

He said the new format worked well and especially praised the Bell Aliant Great Canadian Song Conference for its success in connecting Island artists with industry opportunities.

“I was really amazed, even when the song conference was in its infancy, at how much impact it made. People were talking about it and were really interested in it,” said MacNeill. “That got us noticed quite positively throughout the industry in Canada and even down in the U.S. I was in New York and Kansas City and people there definitely knew about it.”

The festival will occur between May 18 to May 22 with a number of free and ticketed events being held across the province.

This year’s festival will also be somewhat of a milestone for those involved in the industry.

Music P.E.I. executive director Rob Oakie said this will be the 15th anniversary of handing out the awards.

“The event celebrates, creativity accomplishments and dedication of our artists and the industry,” said Oakie.

MacNeill noted how the industry has changed since the conception of the awards and pointed out the video category specifically.

“Videos (from Island artists) weren’t around when we started this process,” he said. “That kind of proves what we’re doing because we have so many bands and artists looking to make really good videos… we’re coming a long way and getting stronger each and every year.”

MacNeill said the nominations announced Tuesday consisted of a “fine list of candidates.”

“It really demonstrates the great pool of talent we have living in and travelling from Prince Edward Island,” he said.

There was a three-way tie for second place in nominations.

Gordie MacKeeman and His Rhythm Boys, The East Pointers and Tim Chaisson each earned five nominations.

Sorrey and Nathan Wiley each earned four nominations, while Ten Strings and a Goat Skin, Irish Mythen and Raccoon Bandit each had three.

MacNeill said further details on the festival and its scheduling will be released in early April.

The full list of nominations can be found online at or at




Organizations: Rhythm Boys, The East, Festival Group Confederation Centre Conferation Centre Small Halls Sound Studio Cafe Inn Harmony House Theatre Bell Aliant

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, Terre Rouge, Mont-Carmel Canada Washington

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