’50s, country, Motown, Stones tribute coming this summer
BY VOICE STAFF
The Fonthill Bandshell Committee announced its 2018 Thursday night summer concert line-up—its 13th—at Lookout Ridge retirement home last Thursday afternoon. This year’s series begins June 21 and runs for the following 11 weeks until September 6.
“Summer’s almost here,” said committee chair Gayle Baltjes-Bazinet. “We know it’s coming.”
Baltjes-Bazinet and musician and committee member Jim Casson went through the list of the acts coming to town.
“Our first show is ‘The Fab Four Fathers of Rock’n’Roll’, a fifties band,” said Baltjes-Bazinet.
“We need to put on those shows for our mums,” said Casson.
The two unveiled a line-up that includes another fifties band (The Return of Buddy Holly on August 16), a Dolly Parton tribute, a Chicago tribute, and The Official Blues Brothers Revue, for which Casson plans to play drums.
But the biggest get of the year, said Baltjes-Bazinet, is The Blushing Brides, a tribute band for the Rolling Stones playing on July 5.
“We’ve been trying to get them for five years,” she said. Casson added his own effusive praise.
“I started playing in a Pink Floyd tribute band,” he said.
“There was a level down here,” he gestured to the floor. “Then there was us.” He gestured at his midriff. “Then there was the The Blushing Brides.” He gestured above his head.
“They are the best Rolling Stones tribute band in North America,” said Casson.
New to the Bandshell this year is Niagara country musician Brad Battle, who won country artist and songwriter of the year at the 2017 Niagara Music Awards.
Casson praised Battle’s performance at those awards, and also praised the Jimmy Stahl Big band, which will perform on June 28.
He said that over the season 27 horn players of various kinds would perform. “That includes eight trombones. If you’re a musician you know that trombone players need [the] work.”
Casson, who has been involved with the committee since its inception, said that the growth over the years has been tremendous.
“It was the second show of the second year when we realized there was something catching on,” he said. “We got about a thousand people, and before that there had been only a few hundred.”
Baltjes-Bazinet said that the concerts now average around 3000 attendees. Last year’s ABBA tribute drew the biggest crowd in the series’ history, with Baltjes-Bazinet estimating that some 6000 people watched.
“It was at the point where I was begging people, ‘Is it all right if this person sits on your lap?” she recalled.
This year’s Motown band, The Intentions, will play the week of Summerfest. The presence of so many concert-goers last year raised the ire of some businesses downtown, after parking lots were filled with concert-goers, not customers.
“We’re going to have parking at the new community centre and two shuttles from there,” said Baltjes-Bazinet.
The announcement in Lookout Ridge’s chapel was attended by a handful of the committee members, as well as the Mayor and Councillors Peter Papp, John Durley, Jim Lane, and Gary Accursi. Baltjes-Bazinet thanked them for attending.
“It’s good to have two-thirds of the Council,” she said. “Is it an election year?”
2017 Kinsmen Citizen of the Year Judy Reid was there as well. Reid stood to thank the committee for all of its volunteer work.
Baltjes-Bazinet reminded everyone that the committee is again promoting the “Bandshell Booster” pack, which includes a button that is to be worn on Thursday nights.
“If we see you with a button on Thursday nights, we won’t be bothering you for a donation,” said Baltjes-Bazinet.
More information, including a full list of performers, can be found at fonthillbandshell.com.
Updated to clarify Jim Casson’s comment regarding 27 horn players. Casson was referring to the entire season, not just to those performing with the Jimmy Stahl Big Band.