Maritime Rockabilly Festival rocks Amherst

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

Dave Mathieson
Published on September 9, 2012
Rockabilly's BlackRats play Sunday inside the Amherst Curling Club.
Dave Mathieson - Amherst Daily News

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."