The Rua Macmillan Trio from Scotland ended up stranded in Charlottetown after the Stan Rogers Folk Festival, which they were booked to play, was cancelled due to the forecasted arrival of hurricane Arthur this weekend. Clockwise from the top, Rua Macmillan, on fiddle; Adam Brown, on bodhran; and Tia Files on guitar.
©Guardian photo by Heather Taweel
Arthur’s visit this weekend may be changing people’s plans but it won’t stop the music.
Events like the Cavendish Beach Music Festival and the P.E.I. Bluegrass and Old Time Music were still a go late Thursday despite the arrival in the Maritimes of hurricane Arthur.
By the time it hits the region, Arthur is expected to have been downgraded to a post tropical storm.
Linda Libby, meteorologist with Environment Canada, said P.E.I. appears to be dodging the bullet. She said it will rain all day Saturday but not nearly as much as they expected 24 hours earlier.
Folks in Prince County could get up to 75 millimetres of rain on Saturday while the winds provincewide are expected to blow anywhere from 60 to 90 km/h for a few hours very early Sunday morning.
Jeff Squires, president of Cavendish Beach Music Festival, was meeting with all of his senior operations’ staff late Thursday to make sure his patrons will be safe when the three-day festival kicks off today.
“We’re erring on the side of caution and safety,’’ Squires said, noting that everything was being checked and double checked — from securing tents to making sure lighting and sound equipment could be lowered quickly, if need be.
Squires staff was also in constant contact with Environment Canada to monitor any changes in the weekend forecast.
“We’re kind of playing it hour by hour, day by day.’’
At no time did Squires suggest cancellation was a possibility, explaining that everything production-wise was ready to go and the artists are en route.
The forecast appears more dire in Nova Scotia (a tropical storm warning has been issued for the coast of the province) where organizers with the Stan Rogers Folk Festival in Canso cancelled the event Wednesday for the first time in its 17-year history.
That left a lot of artists who were in the region for the Stan Rogers festival stranded.
The Rua Macmillan Trio from Nairn in the Scottish Highlands were stranded in Charlottetown.
The trio had just played the Olde Dublin Pub and were supposed to catch the ferry to Nova Scotia on Thursday to perform at Stan Rogers but those plans changed, thanks to the incoming storm.
“We fully support the festival’s position on this,’’ Macmillan said in an interview Thursday.
“The safety of the patrons obviously comes first. It was a terribly difficult decision for anyone to have to make and we support the decision (to cancel) fully.’’
Shelley Chase, owner of Garrison Hill Booking in New Brunswick that had a number of artists, including Macmillan, booked into Stan Rogers, managed to find gigs on P.E.I. for nine artists, including the Macmillan trio.
“P.E.I. really outdid themselves,’’ Chase said.
“We’ve had so many offers of beds in an already busy (tourism) time. It’s really hard because there’s a massive loss of tour revenue and then, on top of that, you have expenses for hotels that you weren’t planning for because StanFest covers all their meals, all their hotels plus it pays them.’’
A lot of help came from organizers of the Festival of Small Halls event, which spun into action when they heard what happened with the Rogers festival.
Within five hours Wednesday night, everyone had created what is being called the Category 5 Ceilidh in Long Creek and Charlottetown this weekend, featuring artists that were supposed to be playing in Canso.
“You’ve got four bands from the U.K. stranded on an Island so we’ll just make our own festival,’’ Macmillan said.
Two ceilidhs were created on the fly due to the fact a number of artists from the United Kingdom were stranded on P.E.I. due to the cancellation of the Stan Rogers Folk Festival in Canso, N.S.
• Long Creek Church presents The Outside Track, Rua Macmillan Trio and Sam Carter on Saturday, July 5, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 at the door.
• The Old Triangle presents The Outside Track, Rua Macmillan Trio, Sam Carter and the Paul McKenna Band on Sunday, July 6, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 at the door.
• All of the aforementioned have taken part in the Festival of Small Halls on P.E.I.
• 100 per cent of the proceeds go to the artists to cover expenses incurred due to the cancellation of the Stan Rogers Folk Festival.