Perhaps you've already been to a concert with Natalie MacMaster and/or her husband, Donnell Leahy. She's from the very musical MacMaster family of Cape Breton, He's no slouch either. Many years ago we saw him perform here in Ottawa, as part of his family's musical act - The Leahy Family. They're from just outside of Peterborough. Together MacMaster and Leahy are a force to be reckoned with.
They are the masterminds behind Greenbridge, a new outdoor summer music festival, which we attended in August. It's held on a magnificent property in Keene, just east of Peterborough. This was just its second year. Click here to go to their website.
The festival is mostly fiddle music but there were a variety of musical acts.
One of the most memorable performances I've ever seen was from a Boogie Woogie piano player named Jason D. Williams. Words can't adequately describe his act. You'll have to google him to watch him play... with his feet, upside down - he's a real character.
The last act of the evening was Natalie and Donnell. Just watching them would have been enough. I didn't expect their kids to come out at that point. They had already performed in the afternoon and now it was already 10 pm. But out they came. MacMaster and Leahy are now the parents of seven children. Five of those kids performed at Greenbridge. They step dance, play fiddle, sing and some of them also play piano! The phrase "talented family" doesn't even begin to describe them.
The day after the festival we got talking about security on the festival site, as in, where was it? It's true that we spoke to a firefighter, but he was mostly letting little kids see the fire truck. There weren't police officers and security people to be seen because it just wasn't that kind of event. Yes, there were two bars on site but it never got rowdy. This was a summer music festival with a difference. It was extremely relaxed and friendly, starting with the volunteers who met us on the way to the parking lot.
If you want to attend a summer music festival with a laid back atmosphere, in a lovely setting, with good food options and outstanding musicians, head to Greenbridge at the end of next August. You won't be disappointed.