Trenton drummer Marcus Cosh was standing side stage at Ribfest Halifax on Sunday with his fellow band mates when he heard Halifax-based band Hitman announced as the runner-up.
“More or less, I felt pride for the boys and myself that we got that far before they did the announcement,” Cosh said about how he was feeling waiting for the winner to be announced. “Of course, every band there wanted to win and there was no bands looking at each other, mean mugging each other or anything like that. It was pretty cool. We were standing right next to the boys from Hitman and we were shaking hands, and they had their arms around each other and all that. It really showed the small music scene environment because of that.”
Three-piece rock group Andre Pettipas and the Giants, who are based in Antigonish County, were one of more than 100 bands that entered the contest a few months ago, 18 of which were chosen for the semifinals. On Sunday, the top three performed three songs, with Andre Pettipas and the Giants playing summer single Smile, Richelieu, and Rubber Arm under a tent at Ribfest.
After drawing names to decide the order, Andre Pettipas and the Giants went last, hearing their competition before they had to step on stage. Cosh said that made it more nerve-wracking.
“The other bands were absolutely phenomenal. They were even more impressive live than recording.”
The local band’s prize includes $5,000 in recording, production and mastering at Codapop Studios, $5,000 in artist development with GroundSwell Music and $5,000 in equipment and instruments.
The second place and third place prizes are for $3,000 and $2,000 respectively in equipment and instruments.
For Cosh, the prize that really stands out is the artist development.
“That $5,000 in artist development is worth its weight in gold,” Cosh said. “The artist development is more to get you ready, to get you tour ready, to help out with any sort of things like grant proposals and anything that can really boost your career.”
Cosh praised GroundSwell and the bands that work with the music company, which offers artist management, record label services and event and festival production.
“…You hear of the bands that they work with because they’re the bands that are blowing up in Nova Scotia. GroundSwell is The Stanfields, the Town Heroes, Mike Bochoff Band, Like A Motorcycle. You have all these artists that you see everywhere in the Maritimes and they’re all with GroundSwell.”
Leading up to the contest, Cosh said the band spent a lot of time writing over the winter, especially vocalist and guitarist Andre Pettipas and bassist and backing vocalist Travis Pettipas.
“Over the last year, they probably have written 30 plus songs, pretty much enough for three albums.”
They plan to record the best five songs for an industry demo.
Andre Pettipas and the Giants have three upcoming performances in Pictou County, a closing show at Pictou Lobster Carnival on Friday and two shows for the New Glasgow Riverfront Jubilee – one on the main stage and one on the late night stage.