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Mountain Music kicks off with Country Fest

James Swallow stands atop a hill at the Music Mountain site two days before the property would be full of music lovers attending Country Fest, the first of three music festivals taking place at the venue this summer.
James Swallow stands atop a hill at the Music Mountain site two days before the property would be full of music lovers attending Country Fest, the first of three music festivals taking place at the venue this summer.

THORBURN By Friday evening, Don and James Swallow’s property on Thorburn Road, which includes forested area and a picturesque pond, will be filled with RVs and music lovers as they prepare for their first festival of the season at what is a quickly expanding venue and event.

Music Mountain started with one show in 2013, born out of a family love of music, and now includes three separate weekend-long events, each tailored to a specific genre.

Don said they likely couldn’t have fit more campers on the property last year during the rock festival, leading the family to clear additional land to accommodate more people this year, with further construction in the works. A second washroom facility is being added, and rooms are being built for people to rent as overnight accommodation.

He’d like to see attendance reach between 1,000 and 1,500 people, but wants it to remain manageable.

Music Mountain is the family’s first foray into building a festival, though they’ve been around music their whole lives. Don said a few of the family members involved in Music Mountain, which includes several generations, have the talent to play in it, though he doesn’t include himself.

“I’m not one of them, but I like to listen,” he says, as he jokes that he can’t even play the radio. He speaks highly of the talented musicians who have graced the Music Mountain stage, including his nephew, who is in Grade 8.    

This will be their fourth full year, beginning today (Friday) with their Country Fest which includes The Kitchen Criminals, Pistol Packin’ Papas, TJ King Band, Paul Tupper, Dave Taylor, Jason Perry Band, Robert Bouchard Band, JD Clarke Band and Amanda Riley Band.

Blues Fest takes place on July 21 and 22, with performances from Garrett Mason, Joe Murphy and the Water Street Blues Band, Theresa Malenfant and The Instigators, Rabbit Town Blues Band, Double Jim and Tonic Blues Band, Morgan Davis, Keith Hallett, Curtis Matheson Band, Shrimp Daddy and The Sharpshooters and MonkeyJunk.

Rock Fest is set for Aug. 18 and 19 with Myles Goodwyn, Amanda Riley Band, Stonehouse, Machete, Carry The Lost, The Royal North, Fully, Completely (Tragically Hip tribute), My Other Brother Alice (Alice Cooper tribute) and KISSED (Kiss tribute from Montreal).

Last year was the first year they had good weather for every event, and Don thinks that played a positive role in the attendance. Naturally, he hopes to have the sunshine again, but they do sell ponchos and have a big tent housing a canteen, with food sold by Crossroads Country Market.

“Mother Nature will take care of that. She’s going to do what she’s gonna do.”

Don said their major emphasis is on really good music and the atmosphere, adding that anyone who comes to the property will fall in love with it.

“We’re not the political type that does a major study to see if something is working. We just go ahead and do it,” he said, adding that he’s stubborn and will keep trying until he succeeds. He notes the numbers keep getting better and they’ve received good comments about the events.

He says it’s a pretty good feeling after the festival is over to hear people enjoyed themselves.

IF YOU GO

Music starts at: 7:15 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Saturday

Price at gate: $25 Friday, $35 Saturday, $55 weekend

Seating: None provided, but folding and plastic chairs welcome

More info: musicmountain.ca

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