The Rock Is­land Mu­sic Fes­ti­val

An­nual Ramea week­end con­tin­ues to en­tice vis­i­tors

The Gulf News (Port aux Basques) - - Front page - BY ROSALYN ROY Rosalyn.roy@gulfnews.ca Twit­ter: @tyger­lylly

An­nual Ramea fes­ti­val con­tin­ues to en­tice vis­i­tors while rais­ing funds for a good cause.

The 2018 Rock Is­land Mu­sic Fes­ti­val opened to a sul­try, foggy Fri­day morn­ing, Aug. 10. Thanks to an enor­mous tent that cov­ered every­thing but the stage, even the threat of thun­der­show­ers in the fore­cast did lit­tle to de­ter peo­ple from at­tend­ing.

“As far I know, we had Come Home Year in 1989, which was the first one,” says Ramea Mayor Clyde Do­minie. “From what we’ve all dis­cussed and what I can re­call, 1991 is when the Ramea Rock Is­land Mu­sic Fes­ti­val ac­tu­ally started.”

The fes­ti­val has be­come an im­por­tant an­nual fundraiser for Ramea’s fire depart­ment, which runs the week­end long event in part­ner­ship with the ladies’ aux­il­iary. The fes­ti­val of­fers a week­end long se­lec­tion of mu­sic, dance, prize draws and a rea­son for for­mer res­i­dents and tourists to re­turn each sum­mer.

“In ticket sales you could never raise what you can in one week­end event here,” of­fers Do­minie.

But it’s not just the fire depart­ment which ben­e­fits. Other non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tions run kiosks un­der the tent reap an eco­nomic ben­e­fit, not to men­tion the lo­cal busi­nesses.

“It’s an amaz­ing amount of money in the town for the week­end.”

A lot of that money comes via tourism.

“We’ve got a lot of yacht traf­fic in the har­bour,” notes Do­minie, who spent the day be­fore chat­ting with one cou­ple who sailed up from New York and saw the fes­ti­val men­tioned in a provin­cial yacht­ing guide.

There aren’t a lot of places for tourists to stay in the tiny is­land town, and rooms tend to get booked up well in ad­vance. Next year is Come Home Year, which will likely in­crease the com­pe­ti­tion for ac­com­mo­da­tions.

“You’d bet­ter book ahead,” ad­vises Do­minie. “I doubt if even now you’d get a place.”

July is not the best month to visit Ramea. It tends to get a lot of fog, but Au­gust and Septem­ber usu­ally boast the best weather ac­cord­ing to the mayor.

Do­minie orig­i­nates from Cape La Hune, which was set­tled in 1963. Two years be­fore that, his fa­ther moved the fam­ily to Ramea and served as post­mas­ter and tele­graph op­er­a­tor. Do­minie at­tended school here, and even­tu­ally taught it as well.

“It’s a great place,” says Do­minie. “It’s peace­ful.”

He’s had rel­a­tives visit from Wales four or five times now and has even taken them down to Cape La Hune.

Do­minie’s at­ten­tion turns to the tourists wan­der­ing into the tent. He likes to greet them and wel­come new faces to Ramea.

Later he will per­form once again as a mem­ber of We Fellers. The fes­ti­val lineup con­tains a lot of lo­cal tal­ent to en­ter­tain the crowd, but they’ll get some time to cel­e­brate too once other groups take the stage.

“Every­thing is right here in one spot. You can eat, drink, lis­ten to mu­sic, dance and you can walk.”

ROSALYN ROY PHO­TOS — THE GULF NEWS

We Fellers per­form­ing at the Rock Is­land Mu­sic Fes­ti­val on Fri­day af­ter­noon, Aug. 10. From left, Marvin Ros­siter, Clyde Do­minie and Wil­fred Cut­ler.

“We know we’ve got the best one (fes­ti­val) on the coast,” be­lieves Ramea Mayor Clyde Do­minie.

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