Bono, Springsteen in Springhill today

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Stars apologetic over town's dissolution

SPRINGHILL – Two of Springhill’s honourary citizens are in the community today to apologize for not visiting sooner.

U2 frontman Bono and Grammy Award winner Bruce Springsteen probably will not be in Springhill today, but if you thought to read this picture description before our April Fool's Day story, good on ya.

Bono, singer for the Irish rock group U2, and Grammy Award winner Bruce Springsteen walked solemnly through the Springhill Industrial Park during the early morning hours Tuesday, discussing the community that has turned to dissolution to cope with its out-of-control debt. Both were invited to the community – Bono in 2011, and Springsteen the following summer – when touring the Maritimes and offered honourary citizenships as strategic moves to stimulate the local economy, but neither made the pilgrimage. Bono’s invitation came in light of U2’s cover of Peggy Seeger’s “Ballad of Springhill” in 1987, while Springsteen just happened to be close by in 2012.

“They were going to name the town after me,” Springsteen said.

“That’s really something,” Bono said.

Grabbing an early morning coffee, the pair crossed the street to sit on the steps of town hall where just a few short years ago they were officially to be named honourary citizens. By mayoral decree they are, in every sense, citizens of this community faced with losing its township title after its debt grew to $5.1 million. 

“It’s ironic. I probably make that in a year and, as a citizen – even an honourary one - I never had to pay any taxes to the town, either,” Bono said.

The issue of retaining services and maintaining infrastructure, however, wasn’t far from their thoughts.

“What’s up with the town hall clock?” Springsteen said. “Are they going to fix that?”

Maybe if Springsteen and Bono visited the community sooner, they said, their celebrity would have injected some much needed money into the economy and, in turn, created economic spinoffs and new tax revenues for Springhill to use towards its debt. As a supporter of the charity War Child, Bono says he sees a lot of similarities between the town’s roads and those in war torn countries, making it the responsibility of the arts and entertainment community to use their fame to enact change in small, rural, debt-ridden communities like Springhill.

“We’re more than just artists. We’re thinkers and problem solvers. If you have a voice, you should use it to create change - positive change,” he said. “Imagine what we could have done. We could have rebuilt the wonder-wall at the library, or made a green space of the duft banks.”

Change, however, still has to begin at the grassroots level, Springsteen said, and it takes the working class to take care of their own.

“I hear you can get a helluva donair here. That’s worth something,” Springsteen said.

Springhill’s adopted sons planned on hanging out front of the Post Office this morning before watching the Price Is Right with mayor and council at lunch. After supper they were going to go out to the Spot. Already, though, Springsteen and Bono were picking up on the local vernacular.

“April Fools, bud.”

Organizations: War Child, Post Office

Geographic location: Springhill Industrial Park

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Recent comments

  • JF
    April 01, 2014 - 12:47

    LOL !! LOL!! Cool story bro!

  • JF
    April 01, 2014 - 12:45

    LOL !! LOL!! Cool story bro!

  • Bonnas Jaas
    April 01, 2014 - 09:03

    PUGWASH (Staff) - A motorcade of several limousines has just been seen leaving the exclusive, gated community in Fox Harbour and is rumoured to be carrying Springhill's favourite native songbird Anne Murray and her good friends Burton Cummings and Gordon Lightfoot, who it is believed are headed to the former mining town to confront has-been international rockers Bono and Springsteen to tell them to "take a hike."' The Canadian icons will then perform a busker-like concert in front of the Anne Murray Centre, where donations into Lightfoot's guitar case will be given to town hall to pay down the debt.

  • Farmer Tom
    April 01, 2014 - 08:18

    Awesome story. Can tell it was wrote by our hometown boy to even know about the Spot. I haven't even heard of that mentioned in years. Good on ya CG.

  • Brenda Delaney
    April 01, 2014 - 07:51

    I was wondering who wrote this article. Thanks :)