Laying down roots
Celtic Roots Folk Festival hailed as ‘best yet’
Coming off stage after a strong set produces a high second to none for any musician.
Ask Carbonear’s Justin Bowman what it felt like after his performance at the fourth Celtic Roots Folk Festival in Carbonear on July 12 and he’ll tell you the same thing. “It’s a really good feeling,” he said. Playing with his father Bill, aunt Elaine Oates and cousin Charlene Sudbrink, as well as Justin Gear for one tune, the group kicked off the festival.
It featured 15 acts and went into the early morning hours of Sunday, July 13.
“It went really great,” noted Bowman.
The 27-year-old wore two hats on festival day. Not only was he a performer, Bowman is one of the organizers of the event, along with Gear.
Folk festivals, like Celtic Roots, tend to get better with each showing. As artists and the community become more accustomed to the festival, traffic starts to increase.
Bowman said he has heard “a lot of compliments” since Celtic Roots wrapped up.
“It was arguably the best yet,” he said.
Every year the Celtic Roots festival is held indoors at the Knights of Columbus in Carbonear. It creates an intimate connection between the audience and the musicians. It also does something else that separates it from its competition.
This intimacy places the focus solely on the music and what is happening onstage. Other festivals will place a focus on consuming adult beverages, with the music being in the background.
Almost never happened
Putting together a folk festival is hard work. It means long nights and early mornings working the phones arranging talent, ensuring there is a venue and having the sponsorships available to pay for everything.
This year, it was even more work. The organizing committee was cut in half after two members stepped away. As a result, there was a time when it looked like the festival might not happen.
“There was a lot of pressure,” said Bowman.
But, Bowman and Gear dug deep and got things straightened out. It shows the passion each have for the music they make and the festival as a whole. Bowman attributes this desire to growing up playing music as a child.
“It stems from an early age and for love of the music,” he said.
After four years, the group is looking forward to bringing the festival farther along in small steps.
Bowman feels like every year the audience is getting bigger.
“People are starting to come around,” he said.
Peter Green from Victoria is pictured performing at the fourth Celtic Roots Folk Festival in Carbonear on July 12. Green is a member of a band called “Pros and Cons.”