Events Archive

Sat, August 15, 2015

12th Annual Atlantic Canada Harmonica Festival

The Atlantic Canada Harmonica Festival is the only festival of its kind in Eastern Canada. A celebration of the harmonica and all who play it, regardless of musical preference or style.

Spend the day with musicians who love this unique and versatile instrument. If you have ever thought about playing the harmonica, this is the place to start. If you played one in the past and it's now gathering dust, we'll inspire you to start again. And if you're a regular player, you'll be happy to jam or share a tune with other professional and amateur performers.

This is a relaxing and intimate festival, held on the grounds and inside the Heritage Village historic buildings.

The festival ends with a two hour showcase concert featuring harmonica players from all musical genres, from Isle of Skye, to the Mississippi Delta.

Festival Tickets & Packages

Festival Pass - $49
Your pass gets you into all classes & demos, the Parlour Jam, the JAMboree, the Evening Showcase and both lunch and supper at the Village Cookhouse. It also includes a 10% discount coupon on overnight at participating accommodations.

Harmonica Festival Showcase - $10
Evening Showcase Only

Harmonica Festival Getaway for Two - $215
The perfect musical get-away for Two! Includes two Festival Passes, paired with overnight accommodation at Salmon River Country Inn and breakfast the next morning. 

Workshop Facilitators/ Special Guests

Catriona Sturton (Ottawa) - Catriona got her start playing harmonica as a teenager in Ottawa.  She has taught harmonica across Canada, and studied from master harmonica teachers in New Orleans and Indiana. She opened for harmonica legend, Jason Ricci on a South Eastern U.S. tour and will be playing shows in the Maritimes in August with Ottawa's Birdy Whyte.

Phil Potvin, (Halifax) – Phil has been playing harmonica since he was 12 and has taught for over 20 years. He has played with various musicians and bands in Toronto and Halifax as well as on the ECMA’s in Charlottetown and Halifax. In 2005 Real Blues Magazine named Phil as the #1 Blues Harmonica Instrumentalist for “Rawkin” with Carter Chaplin. He is now working on his own CD. 

Alastair Macdonald, (Dartmouth) - Alastair has Cape Breton roots, grew up in the Musquodoboit Valley, and resides in Dartmouth. He is a songwriter, and has had many of his compositions recorded by Maritime artists and featured in musical theatre productions. Alastair has recorded two CDs of original songs, and is considered a pioneer in performing 'fiddonica', (simultaneous fiddle/harmonica).

Benjamin Feltmate (Halifax) - Drawn to the Harmonica by its wailing, soulful expression, Ben picked up the harmonica four years ago at 17. Building on that passion, Ben now teaches a harmonica class and holds a recital as a part of the student society, DalJam. Extremely excited to be here, this is Ben's second time performing at the Atlantic Harmonica Festival. 


Workshops & Activities

All classes require a 10 hole C Harmonica, unless otherwise stated. Harmonica's will be available for purchase on-site. All classes & demos are $5 each, or included in a Festival Pass. Class Tickets, and Festival Passes will be available at the Hosking Store or Click Here to purchase online.

Parlour Jam: "A Kitchen Party in the Parlour!" An all-day jam session in the Homestead, in an informal and comfy setting. This is a "drop-in / drop-out" affair, and perfect for sharing a few tunes or an intimate jam session.

JAMboree!: This is your chance to play a few tunes in an informal song circle style. (i.e. play one tune, then move on to the next person in the circle.) No need to be an expert! Open to beginners, intermediate, and advanced players. 

Evening Showcase: In the Clam Factory with our amazing line-up of players including class instructors and special guests! 

Class 1: Children Only! (i.e. parents don’t come in) Beginner Class (Free)
Learn One Tune on a C Harmonica with Catriona Sturton
Location: Schoolhouse (#2 on Map)

Class 2: Beginner Camp Fire or Old Time ($5)
Learn One Tune on a C Harmonica with Al MacDonald
Location: Church (#3 on Map)

Class 3: "A Brief History of the Harmonica & its Blues Players" Listening Class (Free)
Audio samples and stories of genre and stylings, led by Phil Potvin
Location: Church (#3 on Map)
*No Instrument Required

Class 4: Beginner Blues ($5)
Learn the basics of blues harmonica with Catriona Sturton 
Location: Church (#3 on Map)

Class 5: Intermediate Blues ($5)
Using 3rd Position, Intro to 5th Position, Improvising, using Pentatonic Scales by Phil Potvin 
Location: Schoolhouse (#2 on Map)

Class 6: Catriona Sturton - "My Personal Journey" Listening Class (Free)
Catriona shares stories of her travels to learn harmonica (from New Orleans to Nova Scotia) and talks about some of harmonica legends she has studied from.  She'll introduce some of her favourite tips and techniques, as well as advice and lore that she's picked up on her adventures.
Location: Church (#3 on Map)
*No Instrument Required

Class 7: How to Loop & Other Technologies ($5)
An introductory course with Ben Feltmate on how to build loops with your harmonica to lead with or back yourself and blend the harmonica with other instruments. Please bring a loop pedal if you have one. 
Location: Schoolhouse (#2 on Map)


Time: 11 AM - 10 PM

Fee: Day Admission $8, Teaching Classes $5 each, Dinner $17

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