Maritime Rockabilly Festival rocks Amherst

Dave Mathieson
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"...they got a full-blown festival in the face,"
 says organizer

Rockabilly's BlackRats play Sunday inside the Amherst Curling Club.

AMHERST - Lipstick, tattoos, burlesque, blue jeans, and rockabilly bands strutted their stuff in Amherst this weekend during the inaugural Maritime Rockabilly Shakedown.

"For the first year this is electric," said Davey Goode, one of the festival organizers, and guitarist with The Shakedown Combo.

"People I spoke to were wowed by it," added Goode during the final day of the festival. "They expected a festival but they expected something low key and, instead, they got a full-blown festival in the face."

The festival kicked off Friday night at Teazers Bar in Amherst.

"We had four or five hundred people in Teazers on Friday, so we were at capacity," said Goode.

The festival then moved to Victoria Square on Saturday.

"The headliners were on (stage) Saturday night, and there were people dancing in the square and having fun the whole day," said Goode.

"I had an absolute grin on my face all day," he added. "Everywhere I walked I saw people enjoying it so, for me, it was an absolute success."

Due to the rainy weather, the festival moved to the Amherst Curling Club on Sunday.

"We all got together and moved everything this (Sunday) morning, and we filled the curling club. What more could I ask," said Goode.

The idea for a rockabilly festival had been germinating in Goode's head for a while, and it was about six months ago he started taking the idea more serious.

"Then about three months ago I started talking to Terry Farrell, and with that connection with Terry, we started to engage the town, so it's taken about three months to put this together," said Goode. 

He is proud of the way the town came together and made the festival a success.

"It was a real festival. We had a real up-and-running, take-it-serious festival," said Goode. "For the first year Amherst needs to be proud. We have a festival here that has to be taken seriously."

Goode hopes the momentum from this year carries over to next year.

"If we did this in three months, imagine what we can do in the next 12 months for next year.

"I've been talking to bands, I'm talking to a whole bunch of people, and next year the festival will grow," said Goode. "There is no way I'm going to let this snowball dry up and not gain momentum. This is going to fly.”

As Goode's eyes sweep across the crowd at the curling club, he says. "We love Amherst, and so often people say that nothing ever happens in Amherst but look at this crowd. Amherst has something now. Lets build on this."

Goode also thanked everybody involved in festival's success.

"People are coming to me and saying ‘well done, congratulations,' and I'm saying to people, ‘thank you for embracing it, thank you for coming out,' because without people we wouldn't have a festival," he said. "I thank the event crew, the volunteers, and the whole town for being so supportive."


Organizations: Amherst Curling Club

Geographic location: Amherst, Victoria Square

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Recent comments

  • John
    September 13, 2012 - 20:21

    I attended the festival and was thourghly entertained, just want to comment on the no local vendors comments, I took a stroll down Victoria St. during one of the band changes and saw McCulley's Market, Bella's Cafe, Bambinoes, a fish and chip truck and an ice cream vendor, all local so to say local vendors were not allowed or invited is untrue. Also as expected there were vendors who are part of the Rockabilly culture which i assume there are not to many of in Amherst outside of the organizers who were obviously busy entertaining the masses. Again thank you to all who were involved in bringing the festival to Amherst looking forward to next year.

  • Shelley
    September 13, 2012 - 15:23

    Sending a big "Thank you" to the Town of Amherst. It was awesome. Can't wait until next year to do it again. :)

  • Kay Dee
    September 11, 2012 - 20:14

    This festival looks great on Amherst!!

  • mike
    September 11, 2012 - 07:33

    An amazing event. Finally something that Amherst can be proud of !!!!!! Can't wait until next year.

  • Phil
    September 11, 2012 - 00:34

    Awesome Job to all involved and to all that attended. This year went as smooth as butter and from what I've seen everyone love it. We (Rock'n Rebels) were honored to be part of such an awesome festival and even more honorned to have take front page of your local paper. Thanks for having us we'll be back next year.

  • Terry Farrell
    September 10, 2012 - 19:02

    Sorry that the anonymous commentator "Askim" was misinformed. Local merchants, including tattoo artists were contacted directly to solicit their support for the Shakedown. Downtown food merchants were given exclusive rights to sell their wares on the site. They provided amazing service under some heavy pressure from the larger than expected crowds. All merchandise vendors who were on the site approached the committee to seek permission to attend. They brought a diverse and unique flavour to the festivities. They were all very pleased with their results. I encourage everyone with constructive criticicisms, suggestions, comments or offers of assistance to identify themselves and come forward to help make the 2013 Maritime Rockabilly Shakedown an even bigger success. I particularly hope that local business people will contact us directlywith suggestions to help us make the Shakedown a positive economic experience for everyone.

    • A person of interst
      September 12, 2012 - 14:01

      Mr. Farrell I do believe that the Festival was a wonderful success. I also hope it continues for years. You may correct me if I am wrong, but you did say the Town of Amherst helped finance this festival? Well then please explain to the people on this forum...Why local vendors (that do pay taxes to the town) were not included in this festival?Downtown is not just downtown, it is still AMHERST. When they were approched by the promoter they were interested in doing the event, Then refused permission to be on site ? Because as ASKIM has portrayed there was favortism & conflict of interest, Free enterprise, should be that.."FREE ENTERPRISE"

  • Davey
    September 10, 2012 - 13:46

    I wish to personally thank the MaRS team, our volunteers, the food vendors who did a wonderful job at the festival, the local business owners who’s support has been wonderful, the town of Amherst for giving us the opportunity to succeed with this and the many people of Amherst who came out and had a great time. This was a resounding success and will be an annual event. Thank you so much for embracing something new and accepting us into the community. We promise to keep this event exciting and fresh every year and bring fans from all over into our wonderful town. As always, we will continue to embrace opportunities to work with local business owners to find ways to enhance their involvement with this themed Rockabilly Festival. The support for this has been overwhelming and I am proud to be a member of this community. I applaud you for making this festival the best ever!!. Davey Lee Goode MaRs

  • Rachel MacLean
    September 10, 2012 - 12:59

    I also would like to point out that without the wonderful support from the volunteers, this event would never have gone as smooth as it did. Working together, you folks certainly out did yourselves...look at what a team we have here in Amherst:) Wonderful job everyone!

  • Rachel MacLean
    September 10, 2012 - 12:12

    Thank you to the Town of Amherst for sponsoring this wonderful event! The Goode's did an amazing job of organizing and hosting the event! Hats off to you all:) My family and I had a wonderful time...great music, great times, great memories:) And, from the look of everyone I saw, that sentiment was shared by all, young & old. How fortunate are we to have been able to share this experience!! We are looking forward to the event next year and for many years after. This is a wonderful stepping stone for Downtown Amherst...keep the momentum going:)

  • Jack On The Rocks
    September 10, 2012 - 10:21

    Right on Sublime...the locals knew about this oppurtunity long ago...As you could see from the local businesses that were on sight...Shame on ASKIM for not thinking before typing....

  • Blue Soctian
    September 10, 2012 - 10:13

    I would think that if I wanted to organize an event I would send an invite or be in contact with local vendors,tattoo artists etc. As a coordinator I would assume you would want to promote locals! It is a safe bet that vendors from Halifax didn't approach the organizers of this event in Amherst if they could come. So to say Local talent like Scott Clark didn't ask to come I would dare say is a lame excuse or cop out! I have been to many festivals both big and small and they ALL were very proud of their locals. They went out of their way to make it known that they were local! Let's get it right in the future! Events like this are great for the town but we NEED local involvement and support.

    • Bleedingteddy
      September 10, 2012 - 13:34

      Actually as one of the vendors who came from Halifax I definately did contact the festival once I found out about it not the other way around and I know I am not alone in that as this is the case for at least one other.

  • askim
    September 10, 2012 - 06:38

    There was a lack of local vendors, i.e. tattoo artists. The artist from Halifax was a friend of the organizers and a part of their culture (who are also not from here). I think the local artists should do a newspaper article. Shame, shame, shame.

    • sublime
      September 10, 2012 - 08:33

      There were plenty of local vendors. If local tatoo artists are cheesed because they feel left out, then I ask why did they not approach the organizers during the months of preparation. I've known this festival was coming for quite a while, so did many others, so if these artists were in touch with their community ... they would have too. They could have reached out to Mr. Goode and got involved. But there are always those who think that everything should just come to them ... just sayin!

    • Cindy
      September 10, 2012 - 12:30

      Not "Shame, shame, shame" one bit...Unfortunately there was some communication error and Scott didn't get to lend a hand to this fabulous festival, but has been speaking with Davey Lee Goode, and hopes to be a part of next years festivities. Scott fully supports all artists, and commends Goode, and everyone involved with this festival, for putting on such a successful and positive event for the town of Amherst. Lets not turn something good into negative energy. Way to go Rockabilly Festival!!