© Darrell Cole – Amherst News
Davey Lee Goode (left) of the Shakedown Combo and Maritime Rockabilly Shakedown Festival media group manager Cor VanderDonk are busy preparing for the second annual music festival in downtown Amherst from Sept. 6 to 8. The festival is putting Amherst in the international spotlight with performers and visitors coming from around the globe to the three-day event.
AMHERST – Amherst will be in the international spotlight in early September when the community plays host to the second Maritime Rockabilly Shakedown Music Festival.
People from as far as Norway, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States are expected to come to town for the three-day festival that begins Sept. 6 and runs through Sept. 8 in Victoria Square and in the main stage tent on Victoria Street.
“The idea of having a rockabilly festival in Amherst seemed like a good idea last year because it’s a genre that everyone can like because it’s upbeat and happy music, but even we were surprised at how successful it was. It really exceeded our expectations for the best case scenario,” organizer Davey Lee Goode said Thursday. “It was a huge hit and people have been talking about the festival since then. Every month we’re getting correspondence from people in Europe and all over North America saying they are coming to the festival this year.”
The festival includes a number of free concerts in the square on all three days as well main stage performances each evening in the tent. Tickets for the main stage performances are $25 for all three days.
There will also be a car show and a number of vendors in the downtown.
Rayburn Anthony, considered a legend of rockabilly, is coming back this year from Tennessee and he’ll be joined by another legendary rockabilly musician in Johnny Powers, who’s coming from Saginaw, Mich.
Other headliners including Tom Polecat from England, Charlie Hightone from Spain, Bloodshot Bill from Montreal and the Royal Crowns from Toronto.
MARS II, as it’s being called, will also be performances from Amherst’s own Shakedown Combo, The Greasemarks, the Dirty G-Stings, Hashtones, Danny Duke & the Northern Stars, Urban Surf Kinds and more.
“It’s continuing to snowball,” Goode said. “Amherst is becoming a rockabilly magnet and there are a lot of people out there across Canada and around the world thinking even if we can’t get there this year we’re definitely coming next year.”
Cor VanderDonk, the MARS media group manager, said the community response has been amazing and he credited the town for getting behind the festival and helping make it the county’s largest rockabilly festival.
“This is a community event for the community and a priority for us is serving the community,” he said. “Our goal is to attract lots of visitors from the outside and bring people in to contribute to the local economy.”
An added feature this year will be MARS TV that will go online at marstv.ca in the days following the festival. The online show will feature 20-minute clips of the performances as well as pre and post-show interviews.
It will also showcase the town, its people and why people may want to visit or live in the community.
Tickets and information are available at www.rockabillyshakedown.com. Tickets can also be purchased at the Warehouse Café, Mike’s Drive Thru and Convenience, Flo Boutique, Victorian Motel, Snow White Laundry and Convenience, JG Jewellers and Connors Family Restaurant.