KeelHaul, a Maritime musical duo from British Columbia were a late add-in to the performing acts at the Blueberry Festival, replacing an entry that cancelled out. The husband and wife team of Sue Garnier, originally from St. George's, and Wayne Morecombe of BC were in the area for a family reunion.
After three days of music, field activities and exhibitions, the 20th Annual St. George’s Blueberry Festival concluded Sunday, August 1 with its biggest concert of the weekend, featuring the Eagles tribute band, Hotel California. More than 1,000 people attended the show and, according to planning committee members, most left the concert site raving about the quality of the music.
“The Eagles Tribute Band was the show that sold the weekend,” said committee spokesman, Danny Conway. “It was by far the best performance.”
The four-member group, billing themselves as Hotel California, is based in Ontario and the members have been playing together since the middle 1980s, said band member Mike Dimoulas in an interview prior to the show. Besides playing in various Canadian sites, they have performed in Japan, Dubai, Bermuda and most of the US states. The other members are: Dean Young, Andy LaPointe and Rick Spyder
Prior to their concert in St. George’s, the group played at events in Harbour Breton and Botwood. Following the Blueberry Festival, they moved on to Port aux Basques where they put off a concert for Come Home Year celebrations on last Monday. “We love playing in Newfoundland, said Mr. Dimoulas, “We would like to tour the entire province.”
Mr. Conway said all of the musicians were well received and they had good turnouts for George Canyon on Friday night and Newfoundlander Peter Jacobs on Saturday. Attendance averaged out at about 1000 people per show. In addition to the outside artists, the festival attracted a large variety of local musicians. Of the 21 performing groups, only four were from outside Bay St. George, he said.
There were some anxious moments early in the weekend when the forecast predicted rain, said Mr. Conway. In fact, the committee was ready to move the show to the Stephenville Dome because of the forecast. However, a meeting among committee and town council members decided it was in the best interest of St George’s that the festival remain in town regardless of the weather. “It proved to be the best decision,” he said. The rain held off Friday and the weather got increasingly better as the weekend progressed.
Mr. Conway said the overall success of the weekend owes a lot to the 140 volunteers who gave of their time.
“They were outstanding,” he said. The majority of them were older people. I did a compilation of those on the field during setup on Saturday and worked out the average age of our volunteers at 64 years. I couldn’t believe it.” That, he noted, presents a challenge for future years. If they hope to keep the festival operating, it will require an infusion of new people.
The event was profitable for the entire community, including local businesses and community organizations, he concluded.