Aug 28, 2023 / by Folk Harbour / No Comments

VOLUME 21 #8

This edition of Folk Lines highlights powerful musical experiences from the Folk Harbour Festival, outlines upcoming events, and thanks volunteers for making it all possible!

Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival 2023: The Power of Song
The theme of this year’s Folk Harbour Festival was The Power of Song, and throughout the weekend, the power of song to unite, inspire, and entertain us was evident.

The conference, Folk Steps, focused on the power of women in music. Keynote speaker, Margo Carruthers, delivered an engaging and informative address (L), while Holly Near (R), the event’s final performer, left audience members on their feet with her inspirational stories and songs.

Garry Woodcock photo
Charlie Ipcar photo

The healing power of music was explored in an Alma Houston Talk with Terra Spencer, Catherine MacLellan, and Anna Plaskett.

Garry Woodcock photo

Below, Folk Harbour’s famously engaged audience members sing, cheer, dance, and clap along. Photos: 1, 2, and 4 – David and Freda Baillieul, 3 – Garry Woodcock

It’s not just audience members who have a great time! Left: Nick Gauthier (with Catherine MacLellan), Right: Carole Bestvater (of Youngtree and Carole Bee), show their obvious joy of performing. Photos by David and Freda Baillieul

The Power of Musical Education

Val Meister Young Fiddlers Workshop

Young Fiddlers workshop

In addition to the power of music for healing, story-telling, and community-building, the Folk Harbour Society believes in and supports the power of musical education.

The Folk Harbour Society has many initiatives that support musical education. The longest running of such initiatives is the Val Meister Young Fiddlers workshop. Named for a founding member and Lifetime Friend of the Folk Harbour Festival, the Val Meister Young Fiddlers workshop gives young fiddle players and accompanists the opportunity to learn from professional musicians. This year, Métis songwriter and fiddler Sierra Noble, along with local music teachers Bev Shaw, Eilidh Campbell, and Liam Britten, taught 11 young musicians a Scottish fiddle medley, which the group then performed on the Lunenburg Bandstand.

Young Fiddlers performance, Garry Woodcock photo

The Folk Harbour Society is grateful for funding form the Leanne Children’s Foundation, which has been a generous and long-term supporter of the Folk Harbour Society, and this workshop in particular. This funding allowed Folk Harbour to offer this workshop free of charge to participants, while still compensating the instructors. The Young Fiddlers workshop is carrying on Val’s vision and goals to offer high quality music learning to young musicians.

Jim Pittman Music Scholarships

Youth and Education Committee member, Madeleine Robitaille (R) presenting Jim Pittman Music Scholarships

In addition to one-time workshops, the Lunenburg Folk Harbour Society is pleased to offer the Jim Pittman Music Scholarships. Jim Pittman was a founding member of the Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival and was a driving force in the Festival’s creation. The Jim Pittman Music Scholarships honour his dedication to the Festival and encourage young local musicians to learn about the musical history of Lunenburg. Winners of Jim Pittman Music Scholarships receive funding toward private music lessons from local music teachers. The goal is to support local music teachers while also facilitating music education and fostering a love of music in younger generations. Thanks to generous donations from the Pittman family, in honour of Jim and Audrey Pittman, the Folk Harbour Society was able to offer five scholarships this year to youth across a variety of instruments and musical styles. We are grateful for the Pittman family’s support to make this possible. This year’s winners are: Katie Brown-Cross, Ella Ernst, Claude Fulton, Clement Fulton, and Sophia Grace Yu. Congratulations and happy music learning!

The Music Continues!
Just because the Festival is over doesn’t mean the music is!! We have one remaining concert in our Saturdays in the Park series, a show on September 2 with Moira and Claire. This concert will take place at 2 pm at the Bandstand in Lunenburg (with the Lunenburg Opera House as a rain venue).

This series has showcased a range of amazing talent. Below (Left to Right) are photos from three of the concerts: HuDost, Brigid, and Ced, Marty and Dave (photos by Garry Woodcock).

We gratefully acknowledge our Saturdays in the Park sponsors who allow us to offer these concerts free of charge:

TD Bank Group, the Town of Lunenburg, the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg, and Kinley Drug PharmaChoice Lunenburg.

Fall Weekends at the Opera House

Folk Harbour’s Program Committee has scheduled a terrific lineup for our fall series. Ticket prices range from $25 to $45, with special pricing for those 25 years and under. Details can be found here.

Upcoming editions of Folk Lines will provide more information about our fall series.

Buy Tickets for Weekends at the Opera House

The Power of Volunteers Who Love Music

Everything audiences saw during Festival weekend is powered by volunteers who are passionate about music! Thank you to all the volunteers whose efforts made the Festival weekend possible.

A few of Folk Harbour’s fabulous volunteers! Photos by Kerry Jarvis.

Lifetime Friends of the Festival

This year, the Lunenburg Folk Harbour Society recognized Barb and Barry Olivella as Lifetime Friends of the Festival. This acknowledges the considerable contributions they have made to the success of the Festival over the years.

Below, Folk Harbour Society President, Louis Robitaille (R), presents Barry and Barb with their award (Garry Woodcock photo).

The music continues year-round, which means the work does too. Committees are already busy at work planning next year’s Festival, as well as year-round events. If you love music as much as we do and want to help make Folk Harbour’s events happen, consider becoming a volunteer! Reach out to

We hope to see you soon!

Music has the power to connect people. Whether reconnecting with a long-time “Folk Festival friend”, meeting new people at a workshop or in line for a concert, or hearing a song that speaks to you, we hope the 38th annual Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival was a positive, joyful experience that left you feeling uplifted and empowered. Thank you for coming and we hope to see you at future events!

©2023 Lunenburg Folk Harbour Society | 125 Montague Street, PO Box 655, Lunenburg, NS B0J 2C0