Many of those who show up for the annual general meeting, also known as Blacktop Ball, are “people who have been with us for a long time,” and for that reason, Landry said the band wants to make it as special as possible.
Friends and fans of the band will descend on 3707 Shore Road this weekend for what Landry has also called a retreat – two nights and three days of music, camping and enjoying the Northumberland Shore.
“It’s a community thing as much as it is a music event,” he said in a recent phone interview, noting it offers access to the beach, food trucks and a light breakfast.
It’s the third official year for the festival, originally organized as a private event before it morphed into a much larger party.
The desire for the festival to be special is one of the reasons the band has decided to preview their upcoming album – slated to be released in the spring of 2018 – during their set on Friday night.
Landry, who hails from Pictou County, said the preview also serves as a challenge for the band.
“We just finished recording a month ago. When you get into a recording situation, a lot of times you’re learning the songs when you’re recording them,” he said, adding when they finish, bands have to learn how to play those new tracks. “It’s good to have a deadline, especially with musicians.”
The band is looking forward to playing the record, their fifth album, for the first time at “undoubtedly our favourite show of the year.”
It’s also the first recording with new members Dillan Tate and Pictou County’s Calen Kinney.
Landry said the album will sound familiar to fans that have been with them since 2008, and having the new members helped bring them back to those roots, as they were fans before joining the group.
“It's rootsy, ripping and explicitly clear in its theme – to stand together and call out righteous, self serving fools who delight in seeing our communities continue to tear into each other,” Landry explained in a press release.
Along with The Stanfields’ sets on both Friday and Saturday nights, Landry promises a “killer line-up” this year – including Christine Campbell, Roxy and The Underground Soul Sound, The Brood, Wheeler, Like A Motorcycle and Rain Over St. Ambrose. They’ve also added a Blues BBQ on Saturday, with proceeds donated to The Karen Lynn MacDonald Allergy Awareness Society.
More information can be found at https://www.groundswellmusic.ca/blacktopball.