Thousands take in Tyne Valley Rock the Boat Festival

Organizers plan for Tyne Valley Oyster Festival to host music component again next year

Eric McCarthy
Published on August 3, 2014

Jessica and Sheldon Harvey from Rocky Point were thrilled to catch sight of Alan Doyle on the other side of the barricades, after the Great Big Sea band member thrilled the audience with his performance Saturday at the Tyne Valley Oyster Festival’s first ever Rock the Boat Music Festival.

©Eric McCarthy/Journal Pioneer

TYNE VALLEY — There’s no doubts in the organizers’ minds that the 51st annual Tyne Valley Oyster Festival will play host to its second annual Rock the Boat Music Festival.

Oyster Festival president Jeff Noye admits there were a few little hiccups in hosting the festival’s first ever music festival Saturday, but he said the overall assessment was the event went over really well.

The weather was wonderful, the crowd closed in on the 5,000 mark, and musicians put on a show to remember.

P.E.I. native Judith MacKinnon, vacationing from Ontario, was in awe by the performances and by what she considered a very reasonable price for admission.

“I think it’s fabulous. It’s very well organized, all the acts are just superb. Everything is so affordable, and everyone is so friendly,” she assessed.

For MacKinnon, it was “Crazy Legs” otherwise known as Gordie MacKeeman, who stole the show. “Oh, fabulous. I was like, ‘Peoples’ choice.’”

Noye took to the stage prior to the night’s final performance by Blue Rodeo.

“It’s been a magical week here in Tyne Valley,” he said, recalling some of the big events leading up to Rock the Boat, a special event a year and a half in the making in celebration of the Oyster Festival’s 50th anniversary.

He assured everyone that Rock the Boat was not just an anniversary special. “We’ll be back, bigger and better than ever.”

The oyster festival tapped into the P.E.I. 2014 Fund to help make this year’s event a reality.

A professional stage was assembled for the oyster festival’s new main event.

The RCMP maintained a visible presence on the water and on the land during the music festival and Const. Ken Wakelin said the event, held at Green Park, was peaceful. He said there were four charges laid under the Liquor Control Act, including one on the water, and two arrests for public intoxication. One of those didn’t even make it onto the grounds, the officer said. Some of the LCA complaints came from the campground after the concert ended, he reported.

Wakelin said that, while traffic control went reasonably well for the big event, the RCMP will be making some recommendations for improvements next year.

There were 14 RCMP officers, two auxiliary officers on site as well as six Ground Search and Rescue personnel, two EMS personnel, six Department of Transportation personnel and a provincial correctional officer on site, Wakelin reported.

The Oyster Festival also had a large contingent of volunteers on duty to help with parking and transportation, concessions, admissions and security.

Blue Rodeo closed out the concert and front man Jim Cuddy invited Alan Doyle, who had just completed a crowd-pleasing set, back up to perform a duet with him.

“The vibe was great,” Noye said of Rock the Boat which got underway at 3 p.m. and concluded some eight hours later. “I think everybody enjoyed themselves.”

He said organizers already have a few ideas on how to make next year’s festival even more enjoyable.