Blues, bikes and barbecue add up to big business

Harry Sullivan
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BIBLE HILL -- Busy, busy, busy...
If Dutch Mason Blues Festival organizers wanted to add another "B" to their title they might consider the word 'business' - as in booming.
"We're packed in here," said Frank and Gino's team leader Alycia White, echoing the sentiment of other local eateries and accommodation sites."It was very busy .... We've been busy all summer but I would say this was the busiest weekend we had. A lot of tourists, a lot of bikers."Ditto for Damascus Pizza and Donair, according to head manager Phil Newell.
"Definitely good," he said. "It was busier than usual... We're excited about it," he said of the increased business the annual Dutch Mason Blues Festival brings to town. "It's great."So too, for accommodation sites, both close to the festival and throughout the greater Truro area.
"Very (busy)," front-desk clerk Sandra Roberts of Best Western Glengarry said, of festival clientele. "Like sold out. We were sold out weeks ago... it's always great to have the blues (crowd). Nice customers."
Ashley Gillcrist, conference attendant at the Nova Scotia Agriculture college, said all but 19 of the 93 available rooms there had been booked and "everybody seemed pretty happy" to be attending the festival.If there was a downside to the out-of-town crowd drawn to hear the likes of such modern-day blues rippers as Kenny Wayne Sheppard, or the aged but still rockin' icons as Dr. Hook, whose timeless tunes from the late '60s and beyond had the crowd on feet its in multiple hand-clapping ovations, it was in having to turn around other way-farers caught in the wave of no-room-in-the-inn, no vacancy signs.
"We have to say no to tourists," said Baker's Chest Tea Room and Bed and Breakfast owner Martin Schuurmans.
But if being too busy is a problem, it's not a complaint, given that Schuurmans's rooms have been booked for about year for the festival weekend and "I already booked two rooms for next year," he said."Well, that's the whole purpose of why we came here," said festival creator and producer David DeWolfe. "To create an event that everybody would put on their calendar every summer. You know, you can always go to a one-day off festival somewhere but where can you go to have camper's weekend and a great vacation each day...?"
DeWolfe said the crowds each year have expressed continued support and now that it has reached a successful fifth year, he is confident in that being so.
"This year's festival for me personally is probably my favourite year. I've always said the fifth year was going to be one of our best years and the lineup this year had been incredible and I'm really, really happy about the turnout. And obviously the fans have come out and supported the festival. They promised me year after year they'd come out and they'd bring some friends with them and the festival keeps building and I'm totally, totally stoked."

Organizations: Nova Scotia Agriculture college, Baker's

Geographic location: Truro

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  • ARE U ALL DEAF
    January 18, 2010 - 10:09

    I'm not exactly sure why we had to listen to the concert in Hilden...15 km away....at a level loud enough that I could hear it inside..over the TV....with the windows closed. That's just ridiculous. Enjoy the hearing loss!

  • Flip
    January 18, 2010 - 09:59

    Are U ALL Deaf from Truro: You could hear the concert all the way out in Hilden, over the T.V. even with the windows closed?! Really?! Now, that is truly amazing - seeing as I live on Robie Street in Truro and the even with my windows wide open and the T.V. on, neither I nor anyone else in my home could hear it until the T.V. was turned off. Now, that either means my entire family is completely deaf or you have a hearing capacity that whould put the average dog to shame. But then that's not what your complaint is about is it? You're simply a typical sad caracter who has to throw any negative spin on anything positive. Next thing you know you'll complain because I was tapping to loudly while typing this post. Hats off to the concert and anyone who had a great time! Until next year!!

  • Brian
    January 18, 2010 - 09:58

    ARE U ALL DEAF - YOU have got to be kidding!!!! I actually live on Vimy Road and you could hear the music but not enough to be annoying.....get a freaking life!!! I was sitting out on my deck and I was wishing I could hear it a little better. Hilden, right....eyes rolling...

  • Doug
    January 18, 2010 - 09:56

    Exactly what our community needs! Hats off to the organizers for bringing so many tourists into our community!

  • Jennifer
    January 18, 2010 - 09:54

    And I suppose you can also hone in on a mouse from two miles away. Turn down your Cold War ear implant. People like you also spend way too much time listening to what the neighbours say and do. Now, listen carefully ... did you hear what I just said from only a mile or so away? Don't blush now!

  • Katie
    January 18, 2010 - 09:53

    Organizers did a good job but it is the behind-the-scenes people that need to be congratulated. The workers that are sending out the promo stuff, making the phone calls, finalizing the details. And some of them are volunteers. Their hard and sometimes stressful work thanks to management often goes unrecognized. So hats off to the little people who REALLY make this event what it is!

  • What
    January 18, 2010 - 09:49

    These things tend to have a negative for non-food businesses it seems. The down town core seemed slower than usual this weekend.

    These events seem to deter regular tourists which our gift and other such shops rely on, as they tend to avoid the crowds and traffic.

  • Mary
    January 18, 2010 - 09:49

    Sam from Nova Scotia: Are you serious? Do you really think there was no crack cocaine in Truro until the Blues came to town? That's pretty narrowminded thinking I must say. You should have gone to the Hilden campground...apparently you could of listened to the concert for free from there!(that was aimed at the other pathetic comment...I tried to type that quietly...shhhhhh

  • Sam
    January 18, 2010 - 09:47

    Mary,

    Of course I know that crack cocaine is available in Truro, but never before have I witnessed it being brazenly smoked in a public place. To tell you the truth, I wasn't even aware of it until someone pointed it out to me. It was smoked within visual distance of law enforcement officials, but to be fair, the police can't watch everybody all the time, so maybe they didn't see or smell the activities.

    I may be a God-fearing individual, but I'm not a stick-in-the-mud. Have fun, enjoy the music, drink some beer, smoke a joint (who doesn't?). But really, a line has to be drawn somewhere.

    When the country's most feared and infamous organized crime group shows up on our streets and hard drugs are used in public as if Truro was Vancouver's downtown Eastside, I, as a parent who chose to live in Truro precisely because it is small, quaint, and quiet, will indeed voice my concern.

  • ARE U ALL DEAF
    January 18, 2010 - 09:47

    Could hear it clear as day here....and my hearing isn't the greatest due to actually having been in the music industry! The point of my statement was...I shouldn't have been able to hear it....and because I could....people who were on site would have to have been hearing it at a level which would cause the same hearing loss I already have.

  • PAM
    January 18, 2010 - 09:46

    H-ll yeah, what a festival,great music,great weather,great time!!!!
    Thanks to everyone involved and as usual wonderful job. To anyone with negative comments that did not attend this festival please be kind to keep them to yourselves as those of us that were there had a ball. can t wait till next year. Bravo.

  • Rob
    January 18, 2010 - 09:43

    Kudos to all involved! If there was a year to be concerned it was this year with the economy and crush of other concerts all over the Maritimes. Well done again.

  • Sam
    January 18, 2010 - 09:40

    While it's good for the area to experience a temporary economic mini-boom, at what price does it come?

    I noticed two unusual things during the Blues Festival: number one, a couple of full patch members of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club touring around town; number two, people publicly smoking crack cocaine.

    Of course, we all made so much money during the Blues Festival, what's the big deal if our young people get their first whiff of crack from some leather clad criminals down for the weekend from Montreal?

    From now on, I'm using the Blues Festival as an opportunity to take a family camping trip to Cavendish and get the heck out of town. Once the kids become old enough to go out on their own, I guess I'll just have to pray that they have the brains to say no when offered illicit drugs.

    Alcohol and marijuana have always been around these events, and a little bit of that never hurt anybody, but when drugs like crack cocaine become commonplace, you know there's a problem. People generally don't sell their souls, their morals, their bodies for alcohol or weed, but the same cannot be said for the harder drugs like crack, meth, and heroin.

    There's nothing wrong with being a safe, quiet, slow little town. Plenty of older people have moved to Truro from Halifax because they got fed up with the crime there. They'll move elsewhere if crime starts increasing in Truro. I know I will.