Country music is rarely my first choice when turning on the radio or firing up Spotify. But over the past few years, I’ve developed quite an affinity for the annual Hank Snow Tribute.
It’s hard not to appreciate such dedicated musicians, organizers, volunteers and concert goers. The event attracts a colourful crowd and injects some excitement into the dog days of summer.
In today’s LighthouseNow Progress Bulletin, I wrote about people like Fenton McAllister, a wonderful gentleman who drove from Summerside to attend the four-day country jamboree. You may have seen him driving around town. He was the one with the HANKSNOW vanity plate on his car.
I watched 15-year-old Middlefield musician Autumn Carver deliver a stellar performance and had the pleasure of interviewing her afterwards. It’s important to remember that, while the audiences are mostly older, some of the performers are quite young. It’s great to see aspiring country musicians get this kind of exposure.
Autumn, who won South Shore Idol last year and recently opened for Washboard Union, has dreams of becoming a Nashville-based singer/songwriter. Based on her obvious talent and the success she’s had so far, I wouldn’t bet against her.
The economic impact of the Hank Snow Tribute is undeniable and comes without the financial risk of paying big-ticket performers to come to town. Hotels, restaurants, gas stations and other businesses get a real boost from all the visitors.
Take a look at Lane’s Privateer Inn, which operates the Snug cafe at QPEC in addition to its flagship business on Bristol Avenue. “We saw thousands of people at the Snug, the restaurant was very busy and the inn was filled with festival goers staying the weekend,” Susan Lane told me by email. “Festivals and events have a very positive impact on the local economy.”
Of course none of this would be possible without all the volunteers who make the Hank Snow Tribute go so smoothly. Each and every one of them deserves a tip of the old 10-gallon hat for everything they contribute.