However just because the events are the same doesn’t mean it won’t be a good show.
“We tried to keep this year the same as possible, in the sense of where and when thing happen, just because we’re gearing up for next year,” says Kelly Inglis, co-chair of the tribute. “Gearing up for the big move.”
The big move she’s referring to is the planned return of the festival to Queens County. The festival has been held at the South Shore Exhibition grounds since 1995, after outgrowing all the venues in Queens County. However with Queens Place nearing completion, the tribute committee feels they will finally have a space to hold the festival in his hometown.
Inglis says there are still a lot of details to be hammered out, but she says things are going well so far.
“I haven’t heard anything but support for bringing the festival back here to Hank’s home town,” she says.
One of biggest challenges is getting 250 RV’s close to the festival. The grounds around the museum can accommodate about 100, but that still is less than half the total number. However Inglis is confident they can make it work.
First however the committed has to get through this year’s festivities. While most of the usual events are there, Inglis said there’s a good mix of new and returning talent.
Plenty for country fans
Dylan Cormier is a new face on the scene, and plays in the style of traditional country music.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a tribute without the Rainbow Ranch boys, Hanks old backup band, and they’ll be back again to perform and play back up for other singers.
“Everyone loves them, and they love coming here,” she says.
By popular demand, Inglis is also happy to say the PEI band Nudie and the Turks will return to the stage. The band last played the festival a few years ago, and she says they have received constant requests to bring them back.
“It’s not quite your traditional country, it’s a little different,” says Inglis about the band. “A lot of people I’ve talked to though just love them.”
It was a little difficult last year to get them dwon, since the band had broken up. However the band reformed earlier this year and will be the final band to take the stage on the Thursday night opening show.
James Dean and Jack Smith are back again this year, ready to answer all your Hank Snow and classic country music questions as the Answer Men.
“Between the two of them I don’t know who knows more, but they can tell you everything (about Hank) in an encounter in 1942,” says Inglis.
She adds both are avid Hank Snow fans and collectors of his material. Smith has also compiled the only discography of every Hank Snow song recorded, including information on when, where and who was on the recording, and right down to the time of day. Inglis says she still gets a call from him once a week to add in another detail he’s discovered.
“They know that era of music better than anyone I have ever met.”
Friday’s program starts with Open Mic performances from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., and then classic country from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Saturday morning will feature Joyce Seamone’s songwriter’s circle at 9 a.m. In the afternoon, there will be the popular Guitar Pickin’ Contest and the Sounds Like Hank Contest, along with best-dressed awards; these are all voted on by the public.
Sunday’s program begins with gospel country in the morning, and a return to classic country at noon before the Rainbow Ranch Boys and most of the weekend’s performers hit the stage together to end the weekend’s festivities.
The proceeds from the event will go to the Hank Snow Home Town Museum in Liverpool, Nova Scotia.
History of the tribute
The tribute started from humble beginnings, back on Summerville Beach in 1991. With a beach barbeque, potluck and a variety of classic country music performers, the event proved to be a prosperous and popular idea. Although the day’s entertainment was free, the society raised money through draws and raffles.
Following a successful first year, the tribute moved to the Queens County Fair Grounds in Caledonia where it remained for four years. Eventually the festival even outgrew that space, and moved to the Bridgewater’s South Shore Exhibition Grounds in 1995.
Inglis says the festival has endured for many reasons.
“First of all it’s Hank Snow, and he’s the king of Canadian country music,” she says. “Then you. have your friends that have been going for years. It’s like a big reunion of friends that gather each year.”
She says the RV crowd is particularly close knit, and it’s not unusual to find people jamming into the early morning hours. Each year the early bird gates open Wednesday at 10 a.m., but she says there are always people lined up at the gates by the Sunday before. One couple, she adds, prides themselves on being the first in line every year.
21st Annual Hank Snow Tribute Prices
Camping passes for two: $115
Early Bird Camping on Wednesday - $10
Electrical hookups (first come, first served basis) - $10 for the entire weekend
Individual Day Passes:
Thursday - $15
Friday - $15
Saturday $25 ($15 after 5 p.m)
For more information email the museum firstname.lastname@example.org or call 354- 4675