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Coal Shed Music Festival opens Friday, Aug. 11, on Yarmouth waterfront

Phil DeMille, co-ordinator and founder of the Coal Shed Music Festival in Yarmouth.
Phil DeMille, co-ordinator and founder of the Coal Shed Music Festival in Yarmouth.

YARMOUTH -- If it’s August on the Yarmouth waterfront, you know there’s going to be plenty of musical entertainment, thanks to the Coal Shed Music Festival, which will kick off its 11th edition Friday, Aug. 11.

Over three weekends – Aug. 11-13, 18-20 and 25-27 – the festival will feature about 100 acts (not including kitchen parties) and a variety of musical styles.

This year’s headline acts include John Gracie, Morgan Davis, Hal Bruce, Manitoba Hal, Campbell & Green, Naming the Twins and Andrew Hunter & the Gatherers.

“As far as headliners go, we’ve probably got more than we’ve ever had,” said Phil DeMille, founder and co-ordinator of the Coal Shed Music Festival.

Interviewed at the festival site just a week-and-a-half or so before this year’s festival, DeMille spoke a bit about the event and about some of the performers who will take the stage.

Organizers had tried to get Gracie before and this time they were successful, DeMille said.

“John has a huge following,” DeMille said. “He is very good.”

Some of this year’s festival headliners have been here once before while others are new, he said.

“Morgan Davis was here once,” DeMille said. “He’s a Juno Award winner and draws big crowds. He’s a bluesman and has played with some of the top names in the business.”

Campbell & Green are back, both as performers and as leaders of the songwriting circle, which was added to the festival last year.

“They do a wonderful job,” DeMille said of the duo and their rapport with songwriters. “They seem to really draw out the best in people, and we had a lot of local songwriters as part of that.”

DeMille shared some thoughts on a few of this year’s other festival headline performers.

On Andrew Hunter & the Gatherers: “Andrew came last year and did a sort of tribute to the Tragically Hip and he did a super, super job.”

On Hal Bruce: “It has been said that he knows every Beatle song ever written and I’m inclined to believe that. I’ve seen him ... The energy of the guy is just incredible.”

On Dan MacKinnon: “I hate to compare him to anyone because he’s very original in what he does, but if I had to liken him to anyone, it would be Stan Rogers.”

These are just a few of the names on the list of performers for this year’s festival. DeMille has spoken before about the region’s deep reservoir of musical talent. The festival is a chance to people to experience some of it.

Admission to the festival is a donation to the Yarmouth Food Bank or Yarmouth school breakfast programs.

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