Day One of Manitoulin Country Fest is a wrap…perfect weather, a larger than ever crowd, great food vendors, and, oh yes what we came for, PHENOMENAL COUNTRY MUSIC!!!!! The one thing we don’t have is high speed internet connection in our motel. A photo journal by Anita Bell and our interview with Johnny Reid will be posted early next week.
Day One started with Miss Manitoulin, Brittany Manitowabi, replete in sash and tiara, singing a few numbers including ‘Field of Dreams’ a song that she wrote. A beautiful girl with a beautiful voice.
Up next was Leah Daniels, 2014 CCMA Spotlight Performance winner, two time CCMA Interactive Artist nominee, who put on an energetic show. Boy can she yodel…who knew? She told us that her grandfather was a singer and, in his honour, she sang a country classic. Leah Daniels is the real deal folks, a hit “Go Back” on radio, respect for the history of country music, and a great stage presence. We look forward to watching her star continue to rise.
Beverley Mahood is well known to Canadians for her work on CMT, her singing of course and her support of various causes including the Pink Mitten Campaign. Not only did Beverly entertain the appreciative crowd but she will be our host for the weekend. We did take a couple photos of Beverley in her stage clothes that we are sharing here as words cannot describe her beauty and how great she looked in her outfit.
Up next was the act it seemed that many in the crowd came to see…Johnny Reid! The front of stage was full of people getting up close to immerse themselves in the Johnny Reid show spectacle.
This year the stage included a runway and Johnny made good use of that space. He, Ben, Miku and Saidah, Gene and even Yvan and Michael performed on it, at one point imitating the Ellen dance along with a little lad named Eligh who he had pulled up from the audience. Johnny joked about working the runway and did a model stroll complete with turns, then broke into a laugh at his silliness. He was in fine form and we could tell he was truly enjoying his time here in Manitoulin. Someone in the crowd yelled out ‘do your Newfoundland song’. We then heard how he wrote the song this summer in his hotel room in St Anthony Nfld, because “it was so bloody cold outside”. We all sang along as Johnny danced all over the stage with a Newfoundland flag draped over his shoulder.
At the meet and greet prior to the show a draw was made. The winning couple, Ron and Tracey, got to sit on a comfy couch right on the side of the stage for the whole show. But there was more to this story…Johnny asked them to come to the microphone so he could introduce them and while there, Ron got down on one knee and proposed to Tracey! And she said yes. What a thrill for her and what fun for the audience to share their special moment.
We heard old favourites that had everyone singing along plus we were treated to new songs…Heart Beats Like A Drum, Honey Honey, and the next single to radio, Picture Of You. While singing You Can Leave Your Hat On he donned hats of various attendees. The encore was Thank You and you could feel the love between the singer and the crowd.
For more information on Manitoulin Country Fest and the rest of the weekend lineup visit www.manitoulincountryfest.com