Category Archives: Festivals

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A NIGHT OF ROCK LEGENDS PRESENTED BY BEST TRIBUTE BANDS IN CANADA

Rockers, and bluesmen and guitarists, oh my! What an amazing line-up of talented musicians I witnessed this past Saturday out in Oshawa for the first annual Durham Rock Tribute Band Festival presented by Sunrise Concerts and sponsored by local radio station CKDO-FM.

The roster included some of the best musicians I’ve seen play live, let alone their tribute material performed to perfection. The fans showed their appreciation with loud applause, screams and the occasional rebel yell after each hit and the bands gave back even more energy. So, now please meet my newest fave bands….

First on stage was SOUTHERN FRIED who performed the hits of Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Allman Brothers Band.

Then we had THE SRV EXPERIENCE with Dave Ryan out front channeling the virtuoso guitar playing of Stevie Ray Vaughan…

Then Gator James and his band BAD TO THE BONE brought George Thorogood to the festival stage….

One of my fave 80’s bands, Bon Jovi, was manifested by BON JOVI FOREVER and lots of ladies quickly hit the dancefloor…

To close the evening, AC/DC’s best interpreters THUNDERSTRUCK hit the stage and blew the roof off. For me, my Aussie connection to AC/DC made this a very special performance [Angus Young’s brother, George, was a founding member of legendary 60’s Oz band, The Easybeats…and I still have my 45’s from back them].

Big thanks to MC for the night KENNY ROBINSON (pictured below) who did a heroic job of keeping the show flowing – so tough for a comedian to work to a crowd seated waaaay back behind the dancefloor, but Kenny was in good humour all night (and got me home to Toronto by 3am!)20170916_190158Congratulations to local promoter George Kotsopoulos (pictured below left, with Kenny in the lobby of Gen’l Sikorski Hall) for staging this festival.20170916_191905And a nice thank-you to the lovely ladies from TicketPro.ca who started everyone’s night off with big smiles and a friendly welcome!20170916_205100(0)Thanks again to all the great musicians who contributed to a successful first-time festival…see you all next year!20170916_181643 20170916_181649 20170916_193826 20170916_210044 20170916_232550 20170917_001501

 

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EXPERIENCE THE MUSIC OF STEVIE RAY VAUGHAN AT THIS SATURDAY’S TRIBUTE BAND FEST IN OSHAWA

Award-winning singer/songwriter and record producer, Stevie Ray Vaughan, was one of the most influential guitarists in the revival of blues music in the 1980s. This talented artist was taken from us way too soon in 1990 when the helicopter he was riding in from one gig to another crashed killing all on-board. With an extensive catalogue of recorded works and live performances, we’re at least left with great memories…and these are brought to life by David Ryan (pictured below), front man for THE SRV EXPERIENCE, one of the best tribute bands playing across Canada today.DSC_3710 cropThe band is part of a 5-group concert performing this Saturday September 16th in Oshawa when Sunrise Concerts presents the 1st Annual Durham Rock Tribute Festival (see below for details & tkt info).  I managed to grab Dave for a quick chat in between gigs and here’s what he told me:

What first inspired you to sing and play guitar like Stevie Ray Vaughan? I saw him with Double Trouble at Toronto’s legendary El Mocambo in the 1983 video and I was hooked!

Was blues/rock guitar your first passion or were you a closet disco lover?  I really like heavier rock from bands such as Metallica, Iron Maiden, Van Halen…

What keeps you and your band on the road and performing for the fans?  My passion for the music – I enjoy playing challenging music and SRV’s was difficult to master and very intense.20140621_SBRF_0931 CROPApart from the September 16th gig in Oshawa, where can fans come see/hear you in the coming months?  We have a show booked at The Blue Goose in Etobicoke on September 22nd.

Are you on social media or have a website your fans can follow?  Yeah, you can check us out at
www.srvexperience.com and we’re also on Facebook.

If you’re a fan of great rock or blues, you’ll love the line-up for this Saturday’s concert: Thunderstruck (AC/DC), Southern Fried (Lynyrd Skynyrd & Allman brothers), Bad to the Bone (George Thorogood), Bon Jovi Forever and The SRV Experience. Your MC for the show is the incomparable, award-winning comedian Kenny Robinson.

Durham’s 1st Annual Rock Tribute Festival 
This Saturday Sept. 16th (doors open 5pm)
General Sikorski Hall, 1551 Stevenson Rd N, Oshawa
Tickets are available from: www.ticketpro.ca

Thanks to our media sponsor…..CKDO logo

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TIFF-ADJACENT “TORONTO ECO 2017″ PRESENTS WOMEN FILMMAKERS SHARING THEIR STORIES

Thanks to friend and filmmaker NOEMI WEIS, I was invited to attend the “Toronto Eco 2017″ presentations this afternoon taking place during the massive Toronto Int’l Film Festival. Noemi was asked to sit on a panel of women filmmakers talking about their experiences getting films made and just getting the gigs themselves. 20170912_160315Pictured above from L to R: Kate Perotti (Edendale Pictures), Blythe Frank (Middle Kid Inc.), Nancy Puetz (Int’l Women in Film + Tennessee chapter President ), moderator and host of Toronto Eco 2017 Hal “Corky” Kessler (Deutsch, Levy & Engel/Exec. Producer of numerous box office hits), then Christin Baker (award-wining director & Emmy-nom’d  producer) and award-winning filmmaker Noemi Weis (Filmblanc)

Sitting in such prestigious company, I found it fascinating hearing the opinions of each filmmaker as she shared the challenges experienced and triumphs to be celebrated working in a male-dominated industry where women are constantly forced to demand equality both on-screen and behind the camera. The small but attentive audience contributed well-targeted questions and had Corky not reminded us of time-constraints, I’m sure we could have continued for another hour.

Christin Baker (L) with Noemi Weis (R)

Christin Baker (L) with Noemi Weis (R)

Following this panel was an interesting informal “pitch” panel featuring 2 Toronto-based established filmmakers (Coral Aiken & Hannah Cheesman), who were seeking script development $s for their new project that will definitely appeal to the young adult/millennial audiences. Moderated again by Corky, the panel featured Noemi and Strath Hamilton, CEO of TriCoast Worldwide distribution company, as well as a representative from the Italian film distribution industry (apologies, I did not get his name as he was not introduced).20170912_171316As Coral and Hannah made the pitch, I could already “see” their film and thought about how perfectly suited it was for the massive int’l genre film fest/cos-play/Fan expo crowd and I already know there are number of elements with which I can help them (Laura Rock, be prepared for a phone call!).20170912_171822After this panel concluded with a rousing round of applause, several of the panelists gathered for some group photos…

(LtoR) Coral, Strath, Hannah & Corky

(LtoR) Coral, Strath, Hannah & Corky

Below, director/screen writer Katia Cafe-Febrissy (L) with Barrister & Solicitor Terry Markus, Noemi and director/writer/producer Nikki Cole getting chummy after the event.20170912_172722Thanks to Noemi for the invite, and thanks to all the participants for giving me an afternoon of intense filmmaking insider views and shared experiences.

To watch these videotaped panels, log on to: www.torontoeco.tv

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ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL BEACH CELTIC FESTIVAL IN TORONTO

Last weekend, Kew Gardens in Toronto’s Beach neighbourhood, was packed with fans of all things Celtic as founder SANDY GRAHAM presented the 14th annual Beach Celtic Festival.  With an exciting vendor village full of Celt-themed treasures and a performance roster of award-winning musical and dance artists, thousands of festival visitors enjoyed 2 days of sunshine and free family fun, celebrating their Scottish, Welsh, Irish and English ancestry and the contributions those early immigrants made to building Toronto into a world class city.20170909_113015Created as a tribute to her late mother, Sandy has built the annual Festival into a local tradition and she has gained support from local businesses and politicians.

The Beach residents are very supportive of this event and I get asked on the street all the time about when it is and what they can expect this year. I think the businesses appreciate that we don’t host a lot of competitive vendors i.e. coffee, food, clothing etc. and that our vendors are strictly Celtic in theme and flavour. I always say that it is a tough rent on Queen Street East and if we can all bring more people into the Beach to spend money and enjoy our little Brigadoon for the weekend then that is all good. Sandy Graham

Here are some of the booths enjoyed by Festival visitors:  first up www.duncanscelticstonework.com20170909_121650

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Duncan MacDonald of  Celtic Stoneworks

20170909_113219..and here’s some beautiful silver and gem jewellery (below) from www.CelticFair.ca20170909_114247 20170909_114308Next up, how about some deelish infused jams & honey from The Art of Nova Scotia20170909_114020 20170909_114056 20170909_114120I found some lovely fragrant incense sticks (Dragon’s Blood…oh my!) from the Karmic Crystals & Sunshine Glass ladies. I also spied some cute fairies, too!20170909_113636 20170909_113703Sprucewood Shortbreads were also there (below), selling their yummy cookies  www.sprucewoodcookies.com20170909_114420 20170909_114511And for those with a bigger appetite, the All Smoked Up BBQ truck was on hand to satisfy everyone’s hunger pangs!20170909_114536Sandy and the Festival team presented an exciting silent auction to help raise funds to cover the costs of producing the Festival…look at all the cool stuff on offer this year (below). Jays’ fans had the opportunity to bid on a personally autographed photo from team legend Kelly Gruber!20170909_11461220170909_114615This year, Sandy welcomed new vendor Jeannie B and her stunning photographic chalkboards. Great ideas for Christmas, birthday or new home gifts! www.jeannieb.com20170909_115018 20170909_115300 20170909_114952…and also Laura from Designs by Nature Gems who brought some stunning handcrafted jewellery to her booth. www.designsbynaturegems.com20170909_114706 20170909_114752You could learn Gaelic and the history of the language around the world from the www.gaelicsocietytoronto.com20170909_115416…and you could also learn about the history of Cornwall, mainland England’s farthest western county (below) from the www.torontocornishassociation.org20170909_115439Another newbie to the Festival this year was Olga from www.SaltnMustard.com who brought her handcrafted infused salts and artisinal mustards (oh, yummm!)20170909_115746 20170909_115752 20170909_115842For those who got a little chilly later in the day, there were warm blankets, jackets and shawls available, too….20170909_114401 20170909_114207…and for those wanting a little bit o’ home in their Toronto home…lots of beautiful watercolours and prints20170909_113851I really did want to take a peek…but the lads from Men in Kilts must have heard and headed for the trees…LOL!20170909_115912The folks from Simply British Foods brought boxes of potato crisps for hungry nibblers….20170909_120051 20170909_120057…and if you wanted to show your allegiance to the Celts, you could pick up all sorts of fun custom pins from Press My Button (below)20170909_115710Here are the bonny lasses from the Bold Step Dancers, under the direction of Meghan Bold, who got the crowds up on their own feet. (you can follow them on Facebook.com/Bold-Step-Dance-Studio-Scottish-Highland-and-Canadian-Step-Dancing )Bold Step DancersThese charming youngsters (below) from the Butler-Fearon-O’Connor School of Irish Dance provided some great traditional dance entertainment.20170909_120221

And here’s the team that helped present this fun family event – Founder and producer extraordinaire Sandy (2nd from left) and her musician brother Don (3rd from left) are joined by some of the generous volunteers for a photo opp with Snapd Beach/Danforth newspaper.20170909_121033Musical performers included Don Graham, Lisa Hartt, Syd Simkins, Caledon County, Erin’s Malore and Old Man Flanagan’s Ghost whose founder, Stephen Lamb, was presented with the 2017 “Celt of the Year” award for his support and contributions to the Celtic community in Toronto.

So mark your calendars for the weekend after Labour Day next year when the Beach Celtic Festival marks it’s 15th anniversary – it’s sure to be one big happy ceilidh!  www.thecelticfestival.com 20170909_115653 20170909_120125 as-celticdragon

 

 

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CANADIAN COMEDY LEGEND, KENNY ROBINSON, TO HOST ROCK TRIBUTE BAND FESTIVAL IN OSHAWA

Back in the 80’s when I ran Yuk Yuk’s Komedy Kabaret and its talent agency, Funny Business, one of my favourite comedians was Kenny Robinson. Kenny always showed up and delivered a killer set and was one of the most reliable MC’s we had on the roster.  No matter how big or humble the gig was, whoever the audience was, Kenny would have ’em rolling in the aisles!  And a few years ago, I was privileged to watch as Kenny was presented with the “Phil Hartman Award” for his contribution to the Canadian comedy industry at the annual Canadian Comedy Awards in Ottawa.Kenny 2Next Saturday, Sept. 16th, Kenny is the host of a unique concert featuring 5 of Canada’s top rock tribute bands and I know that only Kenny can keep things rolling and on time for the 1st Annual Durham Rock Tribute Festival (details below).

His irreverent, socially conscience, intelligent, opinionated and profane style of comedy has made Kenny a fixture and favourite with comedy clubs, festivals, radio, and television audiences for 3 decades.  Raunchy, energetic, sharp-witted, and sharp dressed, Robinson is a one of a kind act. Not for the weak of heart or narrow minded, Kenny assaults your sensibilities and funny bone with unspoken truths.  His episode of the CBC’s Comics has been referred by the Toronto Star as “One of the few episodes that still stand with the test of time” and many Canada’s brightest young comics have claimed Kenny as a mentor and influence. 17457914_10154980646416271_3297041097344781726_nI asked Kenny a few quick questions for this blog and he obliged with the following….

You’ve hosted a lot of music and comedy concerts over the years – do you remember the first one you MC’d and/or the show your hosted with the biggest stars?  My first gig opening for a band was with Tommy Tutone…(867-5309…Jenny Jenny) at the El Mocambo. Later I would host for Jim Carrey, Bo Diddley, and Peaches and Herb.18057020_10155068379351271_2914880231838205834_nHow important is the job of the MC when you have a lot of performers in the line-up?  As the host, my job is to keep the show moving…keep the crowd entertained and informed. On the 16th, I will have five bands and five hours of no holds barred rock and roll on such a tight schedule that VIA rail would envy!!

You’ve been the star of your own TV comedy specials and headlined many live shows in comedy clubs or concert halls: what do you prefer – TV or live?  I love TV and performing live.  TV exposes me to a larger audience and usually pays better…but live gigs give me the thrill and challenge of improvising or trying previously untested material – I’m like a jazz musician that way.

Do you have any musical preferences? With the 5 tribute bands performing on the show you’re hosting in Oshawa, do you have any favourite genres or are you a closet disco king?  I’m basically a blues junkie, so Bad to the Bone and The SRV Experience will be the highlights of the night for me…no disrespect to the Skynyrd boys, haa haa!

Where can your fans see you next?  Folks can catch me the last Sunday of each month hosting Kenny Robinson and his Nubian Show at the downtown Toronto Yuk Yuk’s, and for the 420 crowd, at the Green Leaf Vapour Lounge in Brampton where it’s not unusual for me to drop two long sets.

Do you have a website or social media networks? Folks can check me out on Facebook, or my much neglected website http://www.kennyrobinson.com/contact.html17554206_10154989207221271_4898851077302236969_nKenny’s hosted The Gemini Awards and was twice nominated for his writing and performance in his ground breaking one hour special “Thick and Thin” on the CBC.  Kenny has earned accolades as the creator/writer/producer and host of the edgy late night series “After Hours with Kenny Robinson” on The Comedy Network.

As an actor Kenny has appeared in such films as “Third Miracle” with Ed Harris, “Down To Earth” with Chris Rock, Clement Virgo’s “Love Comes Down”, and David Sutherland’s “Love, Sex, and Eating the Bones.”  Robinson has appeared on the CBC’s “Royal Canadian Air Farce”, Showtime’s “Soul Food”, and has a wide fan base from his re-occurring roles as “Jelly Bean” on PAX series “Doc”, starring Billy Ray Cyrus, and as “Mickey” on the teen fave “Radio Free Roscoe” on the “Noggin” Network. 17554420_10154989217981271_2719326215689466989_nCome see/hear Kenny work his comedy magic as he rides shotgun on this incredible line-up of bands next Saturday night.

Durham’s 1st Annual Rock Tribute Festival 
Saturday Sept, 16th (doors open 5pm)
General Sikorski Hall, 1551 Stevenson Rd N, Oshawa
Tickets are available from: www.ticketpro.ca 

Thanks to our media sponsor…..CKDO logo

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“BAD TO THE BONE” FRONTMAN GATOR JAMES PROUD TO PAY TRIBUTE TO BLUES LEGEND GEORGE THOROGOOD

BAD TO THE BONE was formed in the summer of 1993 by singer/guitarist Gator James and has been going strong ever since. Based in Oshawa, Ontario, this band is the only authentic George Thorogood to tribute band playing across North American, and they continue to attract and entertain audiences from coast to coast. The band has shared stages with many well-known recording artists over the years, for example: April Wine, Kim Mitchell, David Wilcox, Georgia Satellites, Sass Jordan, and many others.

On Saturday September 16th, they join other great tribute bands [The SRV Experience, Thunderstruck, Bon Jovi Forever and Southern Fried] along with host Kenny Robinson, the award-winning comedian and tv personality, t0 play Durham’s 1st Annual Rock Tribute Festival presented by Sunrise Concerts (details below).  I recently chatted with Bad to the Bone frontman and founder Gator James about life on the road portraying the rock/blues icon….BTTB 2017 PosterWhat first inspired you to sing/play guitar like George Thorogood?  I was doing “I Drink Alone” with a band I was touring with in the 80’s and when I came off the road and decided to put together a tribute band, one of the other members said my playing style and voice sounded a lot like him. So, we learned a few more songs and it really clicked.

Was rock/blues your first passion or were you a closet disco lover?   I’ve played many styles of music from classic rock to jazz, rhythm and blues to progressive rock. I always gravitated to music that makes you feel like moving and Thorogood fit the bill for me.

What keeps you (and the band) on the road and performing for the fans?   The feeling we get when we rock our audience and turn new fans onto George Thorogood.BTTB Pic 3Have you ever met George, and if so, what was your first comment/question to him?  I contacted Thorogood’s manager when I was forming the band and told him I would like to meet George to have him authenticate my poster when he was in Toronto. His manager told me George doesn’t like tributes so he said George probably would not comply. A few years later I got invited by a sound tech friend of mine to help him with staging at Toronto’s Government nightclub when George was playing there and I hung out with his guitar tech all day. I watched sound check and was even able to offer help as a stagehand during his show….. but was unable to get to him due to security. But at least he does know about us.

Apart from the September 16th gig in Oshawa, what other shows have you booked in the coming months…any Christmas or NYE concerts we should mark in our calendars?   All our festival shows are done for the summer and we only have a couple of club dates as I am busy with my other band The Gator James Band. But we’re definitely waiting on calls for more Bad to the Bone dates.

You can follow Gator and the band via their website: badtothebone.ca  and their Facebook Group Page.

Durham’s 1st Annual Rock Tribute Festival 
Saturday Sept, 16th (doors open 5pm)
General Sikorski Hall, 1551 Stevenson Rd N, Oshawa
Tickets are available from: www.ticketpro.ca 

Thanks to our media sponsor…..CKDO logo

BJForever

MEET THE BAND WHO BRINGS BON JOVI TO LIFE ON STAGE! SEE/HEAR THEM LIVE SEPT. 16TH IN OSHAWA

“Living on a Prayer”, “Dead or Alive”, “Blaze of Glory”…I can still hear Bon Jovi’s greatest hits playing in my head. And I still remember being within spittin’ distance of Jon when he commanded the concert stage in Toronto so many years ago.  Fortunately we can re-live those glory days thanks to an Ontario group who pays tribute to the band with an uncanny resemblance (both looks and sound) – Bon Jovi Forever.  The band is part of a 5-group concert performing on September 16th in Oshawa when Sunrise Concerts presents the 1st Annual Durham Rock Tribute Festival (see below for details & tkt info).14595581_569365786583802_3383937147522332532_nI recently spoke with Bon Jovi Forever frontman Baz Littlerock who shared his thoughts on performing for fans as the original legendary band.

What first inspired you to sing and perform like Bon Jovi?   I have been a Bon Jovi fan since the Slippery When Wet album came out. It was never my goal to sound like Bon Jovi or do a Bon Jovi tribute band, but as years went on, I constantly would get compared to him vocally even though we did no Bon Jovi songs. In fact, we were doing Maiden, Ozzy, White Zombie (LOL) and people would say “Do you know who you sound like?” So when my son was born, I wanted to be a part of his life and not tour the world so I thought I would start a tribute band and since everyone said I sounded like Bon Jovi it was an easy decision.21244753_10159200736795361_85784443_nWhat has been the weirdest, wildest or most memorable gig you’ve played?  Since 2000, there have been many Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, James Bay, Quebec and New Brunswick tours – so many, but the one that sticks out was in the summer of 2016 when we performed at Q107’s Canada Day festival picnic in Toronto and it was an amazing night!  The whole crowd – I’m guessing 10,000 or maybe more – were all into it and we had such a great night!  But there have been so many great shows over the years that it’s hard to pick just one.

Was rock your first passion or were you a closet disco lover?  Umm, well my dad was all about The Beatles and my mom loved Elvis and Kenny Rogers so I heard a lot of that. The first album I ever bought was Michael Jackson’s Thriller then Huey Lewis’ Sports. I was asked to do a Motley Crue lip-sync band (with all the big hair) where we could pretend to play all the instruments so we made our costumes and instruments – it was awesome. I was hooked so I bought a real guitar and all the Motley albums and have been a rocker ever since.

What keeps you (and the band) on the road and performing for the fans?  The fans mostly. The only time you’re thinking about money is when you booking the show. Once you’re on stage playing there is a “love making” that happens between the band and the audience when you get both parties ready to have a good time, there is honestly – nothing feels better. Its probably a lot like golf – it’s not always your best game every time but when you do have that great shot, you always want that feeling again so you’re constantly chasing that experience.Bon Jovi ForeverHave you ever met any of the Bon Jovi band members, and if so, what was your first comment/question to them?  No, but I have met their new guitarist Phil X – just none of the original line up. If I did meet them I would just say thanks for all the great music they’ve given us – different genres like country to pop to metal and beautiful ballads because as a singer, it allows for a good vocal work out: one minute you’re belting out “Living on a Prayer” and the next you can lay back and sing a song like “Who Says You Can’t Go Home”.

Apart from the September 16th gig in Oshawa, what other shows have you booked in the coming months…any Christmas or NYE concerts we should mark in our calendars? We have a ton of great shows coming up including Belleville for New Years. You can check our upcoming dates by logging on to www.bonjoviforever.ca  or our Facebook (just type in Bon Jovi Forever Tribute Band to find us).

Let’s meet the band….Top left Roscoe Stewart, top right Darryl Coleman, bottom left John E. Keys, bottom right Paul Mathur and centre Baz Littlerock 

If you’re a fan of great rock or blues, you’ll love the line-up: Thunderstruck (AC/DC), Southern Fried (Skynyrd & Allmans), Bad to the Bone (Thorogood), the SRV Experience (Stevie Ray Vaughan) and Bon Jovi Forever. MC is the incomparable, award-winning comedian Kenny Robinson.

 

Durham’s 1st Annual Rock Tribute Festival 
Saturday Sept, 16th (doors open 5pm)
General Sikorski Hall, 1551 Stevenson Rd N, Oshawa
Tickets are available from: www.ticketpro.ca  $45 pp (valid until Sept.5) then $65 pp

Thanks to our media sponsor…..CKDO logo

CONCERT RAISES FUNDS FOR NEXT MONTH’S “BEACH CELTIC FESTIVAL”

Last week, one of Toronto’s favourite watering holes, The Duke on Queen St East, played host to a special fundraising concert benefiting this year’s 14th Annual Beach Celtic Festival (Sept. 9/10) and festival founder SANDY GRAHAM was thrilled to welcome an exciting line-up of Celtic dancers and musicians to the stage.

MC  & performer Don Graham is joined on stage by featured musicians to take their bows.

MC & performer Don Graham is joined on stage by featured performers to take their bows.

Thanks to the generosity of the performers and that of the prize donors for the silent auction, a substantial amount of money was raised to help underwrite the costs for producing the annual festival celebrating the contributions made to Toronto’s history and growth by Scottish, Irish, Welsh and English immigrants.

Led by Meghan Bold, the lovely ladies from the Bold Steps Dance Studio entertained with traditional dances and clogging – the excited crowd clapped along in time.

Apart from MC’ing the evening, singer/songwriter Don Graham opened the night with some great tunes….20170822_195838…and he was followed shortly by roots musician Syd Simkins (below)…20170822_203237….and award-winning artist Lisa Hartt (below)20170822_205652The auction tables were pretty busy throughout the night, offering all sorts of treasures and treats.20170822_183041 20170822_183938MPP Arthur Potts (below) dropped by to wish Sandy and the Festival volunteers well…and shared a few funny stories with the audience. He and Sandy go waaaay back and she was delighted to pose for pictures with him.20170822_194407 20170822_195102Music insider and columnist for Cashbox Canada e-magazine (Sandy is publisher of this long-running music magazine), Lenny Stout (below, left) helped sell 50-50 draw tickets with Festival volunteer Fiona Lawson (right). 20170822_203358…they also helped Don with the draw. And the winner is…. Zita DaSilva who was obviously very excited about the result!20170822_220328Sandy was pleased to welcome reporter Courtney from Snapd newspaper (below left) to the event where she snapped lots of pictures of the performers including Brooke and Steve from Old Man Flanagan’s Ghost.20170822_211243 20170822_213338Stephen Lamb (Old Man Flanagan’s Ghost) was, in fact, presented with the “Beach Celt of the Year” award honouring his contributions to the Celtic community and continued support of the Festival. Steve was later joined by Sandy and MPP Potts for photo opps.20170822_212210 20170822_195122

It truly was a grand night and the artists and audience all paid tribute to Sandy Graham for creating such a unique family-friendly annual event.  You can learn more at www.thecelticfestival.com

BEACH CELTIC FESTIVAL
Sat/Sun September 9 & 10 and it’s FREE!
Kew Gardens, Queen St East in the Beach, Toronto

Poster

 

“SOUTHERN FRIED” BRINGS THE MUSIC OF SKYNYRD & ALLMAN BROS. TO OSHAWA TRIBUTE BAND FEST. SEPT. 16

Local music promoter Sunrise Concerts is presenting a special 1-night-only showcase of the best rock tribute bands in the country on Saturday September 16th (doors open at 5pm) at the General Sikorski Hall, 1551 Stevenson Rd N, Oshawa.  Featuring Thunderstuck (AC/DC), Bon Jovi Forever (Bon Jovi), Southern Fried (Lynyrd Skynyrd/Allman Bros.), Bad to the Bone (George Thorogood) and the Stevie Ray Vaughan Experience (Stevie Ray Vaughan) the event will be hosted by comedian Kenny Robinson (winner of Canadian Comedy Awards’ “Phil Hartman Award” & star of numerous TV comedy specials). The venue offers seating plus bar & food service. Tickets are available from: www.ticketpro.ca There’s a special promotion valid until Sept. 5th – tickets are $45 per person in advance then $65 online and at the door after Sept. 5th.

This promises to be a fantastic night for fans of hard-driving rock, blues and southern rock so head out to Oshawa for this packed night of music and memories.crowds

I recently spoke with David Forbes, the vocalist from Southern Fried who shared his thoughts on performing the music of two of the greatest southern blues/rock bands ever: Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Allman Brothers Band.

David, what first inspired you to perform southern rock classics from Lynyrd Skynyrd and Allman Bros?  When I was about 14, an older cousin introduced me to Lynyrd Skynyrd music and eventually The Allman Brothers Band.  I felt a real connection to this music.Are you the founder of the band or did you start playing in collaboration with one or more band members to get things rolling?  I had been playing drums and doing lead vocals for about a dozen years when I made a decision to start a Southern Rock tribute and then I recruited a friend, Chris Bishop, to play bass and help me to get the band going. I was to front the band so I could focus on vocal performance. Chris was the one to come up with the name “Southern Fried” which was taken from a K-tel album of Southern Rock tunes.SF GF 4Was this musical genre your first passion or were you a closet country & western fan?  I was already a big fan of KISS, Rush and Alice Cooper but I then started to gravitate towards some more blues-oriented music.

What has been the weirdest, wildest or most memorable gig you’ve played?  Playing at Q107’s Million Vacations Party March 2011 where we opened for The Georgia Satellites and played in front of 3,500 people.  That is one of my favorite gigs so far!Have you ever met any of the band members from Lynyrd Skynyrd or Allman Bros, and if so, what was your first comment/question to them?  I have, in fact, met Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes (pictured below), both formerly of The Allman Brothers Band. I asked both of them if they would sign my guitar for me which they were kind enough to oblige.      10393827_865928660100574_7458428394532123684_n Apart from the September 16th gig in Oshawa, what other shows have you booked in the coming months…any Christmas or NYE concerts we should mark in our calendars? At the present time, we‘re booked for a private function at The Balmy Beach Club at the end of September and we should announcing a date soon for The Edge in Ajax with Steve Boyle.

You can follow Southern Fried on Facebook.com/Southern-Fried

Durham’s 1st Annual Rock Tribute Festival 
Saturday Sept, 16th (doors open 5pm)
General Sikorski Hall, 1551 Stevenson Rd N, Oshawa
Tickets are available from: www.ticketpro.ca  $45 pp (valid until Sept.5) then $65 pp

Thanks to our media sponsor…..CKDO logo

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MEET SANDY GRAHAM, FOUNDER OF THE ANNUAL “BEACH CELTIC FESTIVAL” IN TORONTO

Way back in the late 70’s, I first met Sandy Graham (pictured below) who was running a fabulous nightclub called Route 66 on Jarvis St down near Dundas.sandyRoute 66 was a 50’s theme bar and dance club, sorta like Arnold’s on Happy Days but with a big dance floor instead of diner booths. Sandy held court there nightly, leading the talented waiters/dancers out on the dancefloor, getting the crowd up on their feet doing the triple swing, the stroll and even the hand-jive. During this time, I was running a similar club, Ollie’s, located inside the entertainment complex called The Ports of Call (or The Ports for short) up at Yonge & Summerhill. Instead of rivals, we became fast friends.

Skip ahead a few decades(!) and Sandy is still entertaining crowds but this time she is sharing her Celtic heritage and presenting an annual family-friendly festival as a tribute to her late mother who was an accomplished highland dancer and true-blue Scottish lass. So welcome to the 14th annual Beach Celtic Festival!  www.thecelticfestival.comPosterEach September, Sandy hosts this 2-day party for Toronto’s Scots, Irish, English and Welsh descendants with lots of great musical entertainment, dancing, a vendors village where you can pick up all sorts of treats and treasures, and a great community spirit. I’m so pleased to help her promote this year’s event and I asked her to share her thoughts on putting on such a show…..

How did you come up with the idea for a festival celebrating Celtic heritage and culture in Toronto?My Mum (pictured below) passed away in Montreal on June 30, 2001 and because the next day was July 1st (Canada Day) we could not get to her in the funeral home until after the long weekend. I took a walk and ended up in Kew Gardens where the 48th Highlanders of Canada were performing and that was it. I knew I had to do a celebration in that park. It took a few more years and then September 2003 the Beach Celtic Festival was ‘born’.

Jemima Sutherland (L)

Jemima Sutherland (L)

BCF 9 MUMAfter 14 years, how has the event grown/changed since you first launched this unique outdoor ceilidh?    Originally, the Beach Celtic Festival was only supposed to be a one-off event, a celebration of life for my Mum. It was so successful that first year that we decided to keep going. It stayed as a one day event until 6 years ago and has now grown into a two day event. It is now embraced by the neighbourhood and beyond. It’s lovely to get emails from all over the world asking us about the Celtic festival.BCF 10 The CrowdBCF PIPERSYou are also hosting a fundraising event at The Duke tavern on Queen St East this Tuesday night (Aug. 22) – how expensive is it to produce a 2-day family festival in Kew Gardens?  And do you receive any government funding or corporate sponsorship to underwrite these expenses? The Beach Celtic Festival costs close to $10,000 to produce which includes permits, insurance, portable toilets, stage and sound requirements, expenses and publicity. We do not receive government funding and Kew Gardens is a public park and so it cannot have a gate entrance fee. I don’t think people realize how expensive it is and unfortunately there are restrictions to sponsorship as well.

Do your local Beach neighbourhood businesses support or contribute to this event that draws thousands of people to the area each year?  The Beach residents are very supportive of this event and I get asked on the street all the time about when it is and what they can expect this year. I think the businesses appreciate that we don’t host a lot of competitive vendors i.e. coffee, food, clothing etc. and that our vendors are very strictly Celtic in theme and flavour. I always say that it is a tough rent on Queen Street East and if we can all bring more people into the Beach to spend money and enjoy our little Brigadoon for the weekend then that is all good.20140906_17155820140906_171621Over the years, what has been the most fulfilling experience you’ve enjoyed as producer of the Beach Celtic Festival?  There are times during the Celtic that I just stand on the gazebo and look around at the park and realize these are the same trees, the same baseball diamond, the same park my Dad ran around in as a little boy so it has come full circle. There is something magical to see the park full of people enjoying the Celtic ways and hearing all the accents. Smiles galore.BCF 7 Wee Ones DancingAny other comments you’d like to share?  Although the Beach Celtic Festival is my ‘baby’, it truly would not happen without all the love and support I get from everyone involved in the yearly production. Everyone rallies around to push it through year after year and I am eternally grateful for those people. From friends, family, talent and the Celtic Team (including yourself, Glenda) there is great comfort in knowing the Celtic Festival will be around long after I am gone as it is safe in the next generation’s hands. I also wish to extend a welcome to all nationalities to come experience some of the music, ways and wares of the Celtic Community.BCF 8 'Braveheart' BCF  Wee OneSo watch the skies over Kew Gardens for flying dragons…better still, come on down and bring the kids, bring granny, bring your BFF. The Beach Celtic Festival is FREE!

Saturday Sept. 9 & Sunday Sept. 10 (9am-6pm)

Kew Gardens,  Queen St East in Toronto

www.thecelticfestival.com

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