A rock & roll song



by Peter Johnson

A few week’s back I wrote, “Canada’s 156th birthday just took place. I wonder how it went/will go.” Well now, thanks to my special gift of 20-20 ‘Hind-Sightedness’, I know.  

Greetings North Gremlins and welcome to the second half of the month of July. It has been a hot one, has it not? With so much heat and the lack of rain, it has been a trial for many – not just the agriculturally-inclined. And as I sit writing this, it is raining…will continue to throughout the day, and if our friend Connor Mockett can be believed, this afternoon it might look like Oklahoma here – Oklahoma being in tornado alley.  (turns out he was right, as one touched down in Barrhaven, damaging 125 homes). But back to July 1.

There was music ‘everywhere’: The Kemptville Folk Club set up with The Street Piano, at the Library. Across the water, at Salamanders, on the patio, Bradley Smith – a fellow Folk Clubber – was performing his magic on keyboards. We thought that he sounded great. Not to be outdone, we cranked up our speakers so that we could share our music with the patio people too. And, of course, on the main stage in Riverside Park, Jamming Around Man Productions was set up for a first class presentation of local performers. The live music there went from noon until the fireworks lit up the night sky, many hours later. So, congratulations once again, to the KDCA organizers. Our community is enriched by your efforts.  

Now, for a few free, fiercely formidable-yet-fervent (alliteration alert!) thoughts about North Grenville’s music scene. I have been involved in music in this community for some time now…not as far back as the United Empire Loyalists, who built my disastrously-dreary-dingy-dusty dirt road (alliteration alert #2). Music is a part of the fabric of our society. I and my fellow musicians have performed in many venues: The Hyde Smokehouse, The Goose & Gridiron, The Legions of Spencerville, Merrickville and Kemptville, The Red Dot Cafe in Osgoode, and The Vibrations Studios in the same hamlet…to name just a few (NB: the word ‘Hamlet’ originally referred to a small, Danish pig).

‘Kemptville Live’ is the epitome of music in this community. It brings in the best of Canadian talent: Blue Rodeo, Colin James and Valdy have performed here before and will do so again this year. Tom Cochrane & Red Rider, The Powder Blues Band, Burton Cummings, The Stampeders, Gordon Lightfoot…the list goes on and on. And then there’s local talents like Lynne Hanson, Buckledown, The Five-Man Electrical Band, and of course – Bruce Enloe and the Burning Sensations (soon to be rebranded as: ‘Bruce-Eric & the Curiously-Incurable Infestations’?)

This year’s lineup includes: Harlequin, Melissa Ethridge, Toronto, The Commotions, and the requisite local talent – Silver Creek, and of course, the ageless – Eddie and his talented Stingrays. That is a ton of talent! We – this community – are the envy of many surrounding communities. Apart from Ottawa and it’s BluesFest, there is nothing else quite like ‘Kemptville Live’.  

With that in mind, I’d like to remind those who make the big decisions on behalf of our Municipality – don’t screw this up! Your only-est responsibility with regards to this music event is to make sure that you do everything you can to keep them happy – and here. If you start bleeding them with fees and red tape, they will go somewhere else. Just say, ‘What can we do for you?’, and stay the heck out of their way. If they leave, they won’t be back. And for that, somebody’s job should be on the line.


  1. Fully agree ! I heard through the grapevine that the council wants to grab a share of the ticket sales and ban the beer tent ! So I guess it’s goodby to Kemptville Live


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