Kempt Shore festivals attract top talent

Ashley Thompson
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Marc Peterson sets out to host one of the premier music festivals in the Maritimes with every acoustic festival he brings to the Kempt Shore.

The 10th annual Acoustic Maritime Music Festival featured some of Canada’s top talent, with a lineup including Joel Plaskett, David Myles, J.P. Cormier, Gary Fjellgaard, Valdy, The Hupman Brothers, Charlie A’Court, Dave Gunning, Ryan Cook, Christine Campbell, Christina Martin, The Secrets, Mike Milne, Doris Mason, Backyard Devils and Ask Your Sister.

Click here to view a video and slideshow from the event.

Peterson, who operates of the festival with Patti Gass,assumes the role of artistic director when it comes time to select quality talent for the popular event.

“I’ve kept the quality up. Our bar is set very, very high. I get literally hundreds and hundreds of applications from all over the world and I personally go to see these acts,” he said.

“I will not hire an act that I haven’t seen.”

The festivals at Peterson’s Campground have evolved around the notion that high quality live music will keep the crowds coming back year after year.

“I built the festival around J.P. Cormier in the first place, so when you’re starting with a standard that high there’s nowhere to go but the best.”

Peterson estimates there were about 4,500 fans at the campground during the peak hours of the 10th annual acoustic festival hosted July 16-20.

He intentionally invited several popular performers from past festivals to reunite with their fans at Kempt Shore for the big anniversary. He plans to invite some new artists to the stage next year, and he’s open to the idea of inviting a few fan favourites to return.

“We’re one of the only singer-songwriter festivals that allows the fans to get up and close and personal with the artists,” Peterson said. 

Next up, the campground will host the Kempt Shore Music Gala Campout and Dance Aug. 15-17. The weekend will feature open mics, dance bands and jam sessions.

“Our open mics are spectacular,” promises Peterson, who noted that many of the people in the audience at the festivals are actually topnotch musicians themselves.

To learn more, visit

Organizations: Hupman Brothers, Kempt Shore Music Gala Campout

Geographic location: Canada

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