Combining poetry and songwriting in third annual festival

‘I haven’t had a chance to share my poetry publicly yet’

Raissa Tetanish
Published on July 8, 2014

Chad Norman has organized the third annual ‘RiverWords: A Poetry and Music Festival’ that will feature singer-songwriter Felicia MacEachern and writer/poet Harshini Arumugam, among others. The festival begins at 7 p.m. on July 12 at Riverfront Park in Truro.

Raissa Tetanish – Truro Daily News

TRURO – For 14-year-old Harshini Arumugam, an event this weekend is an opportunity to present her works to the public.

Harshini is just one of a number of local poets and musicians on the bill for the third annual RiverWords: A Poetry and Music Festival at Riverfront Park.

“I love writing – it’s something I want to do as a career and this is a great doorway into that,” said Harshini about the event organized by Chad Norman. “It’s a great experience. I haven’t had a chance to share my poetry publicly yet … this is nerve wracking but exciting.”

Being only 14 years old, Harshini knows there are other sorts of poetry readings, however many are inaccessible to her because of her age, as well as location.

“This is a nice opportunity to come and see something like that,” said Harshini, who placed second in the Royal Canadian Legion’s annual literary and poster contest this year.

And singer-songwriter Felicia MacEachern agrees.

“It’s a good opportunity for musicians that are playing in bars to have those underagers, that can’t get into those bars, come see us,” said the 23-year-old.

“I’ve been in town for three years now and this is a great idea, and to see the community and town come together, and bring more unity in the area. It’s important to bring poetry and songwriting together.”

Beginning at 7 p.m., this is the first year Norman has made the event an evening one and he did so because of last year’s heat.

“Last year, it was dreadfully hot and with starting it at 7, the weather will be a little more forgiving,” he said.

Along with Harshini and MacEachern, the bill will feature Mary R. Main, who placed first in the Ada Mingo Memorial Teen Writing contest in 2014, Rosaria Campbell, a poet and professor at the Dalhousie Agricultural Campus, and Phillip K. Thompson, a poet and review writer for the Chronicle Herald.

Other musical acts include Cory MacDonald, a Truro singer-songwriter, and the Flood Town Blues Co., featuring Dale McCabe on guitar and vocals and David Hayman on bass. Gabriel Duguay and Aidan Zann-Roland, featuring Abigail Carey, will also perform a variety of classic jazz standards, such as 'Summertime' and 'Georgia on My Mind.'

This is the first year the festival has received financial support through a Town of Truro grant, and the Department of Parks, Recreation and Culture continue to work with Norman on the production.

“I encourage people to come on out. This is something I have been keen on doing to try and bring poetry and songwriting back together,” said Norman.

“The two art forms go hand in hand.”

Those attending the festival are welcome to bring chairs or blankets to sit on, much as the past two years.

Twitter: @TDNRaissa