Past Performers

Lennie Gallant             Makayla lynn
John Campbelljohn    Jason Price
All Fired Up                 Kim Dunn
Allie Bennett               Donnie Campbell
Ian Sherwood              Alycia Putnam
Cyril MacPhee             Kyle MacDonald
Wally MacAulay          John Curtis Sampson
Duncan Wells              Ryan Roberts
Jordon Musycsyn       Gillian Head
Dwayne Cote               NC Elite Dancers
The Goin's On             CBU Pipe Band
Adrianne & Mike          Kelly Matheson
Crowdis Bridge            Amber Lynk
Angelo Spinazzola
The Cape Breton School of the Arts
Chrissy Crowley,

Christine Melanson
Jason MacDonald,
Buddy MacDonald ,
Keith Mullins,
Anita MacDonald,
Andrew Fedora,
Darren McMullen,
Dara MacDonald
Ben Miller

Pretty Archie
Cormier Duo - Maxim & Gervais Cormier
Dave Gunning
Joseph Gillis
Lyrics and Laughter
Rob MacLean

Decota McNamara
Jason Roach
Rachel Davis,
Colin Grant ,
Adam Young
MacArthur School of Dancing,
Wills Addiction
Buffy MacNeil & Larry Boutilier
Robert Bouchard
Roger Stone
Darrell Keigan
Kimberley Fraser
Catahoula Brown
Donna Marie DeWolf 
Norma MacDonald


2018 Performer


Check Back Soon For Details



2017 Acoustic Roots Festival Artist Bio

Adam Young

Adam Young is a sought-after pianist from Marion Bridge. His style fits perfectly with the fiddle, adding depth, solidity, and a joyful forward motion to the music, with an individual touch that distinguishes it from everyone else’s. There is a certain joy that is evident in his playing; he has the world’s worst poker face.
Adam created and directed the Louisbourg Playhouse’s popular music and comedy revue, Cape Breton Lyrics & Laughter, which has been performed more than 300 times and was nominated for an East Coast Music Award. He regularly plays at concerts, ceilidhs, square dances and sessions throughout Cape Breton, and has showcased his talents in Scotland and Ireland, across Canada and in the United States, including a five-week engagement with Jennifer Roland’s band at Dolly Parton’s amusement park in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee.
This spring and fall, Adam performed with Anita MacDonald and Ben Miller, as well as with his band The Goin’s On, on cruise ships sailing between Halifax and Sydney. In addition to Lyrics & Laughter’s album, Adam can also be heard on recordings by Colin Grant, Jason MacDonald, Eric Angus Whyte, Dara Smith-MacDonald and Marilyn MacKinnon.

 Alycia Putnam 

Since being inspired at the age of nine when she saw Natalie MacMaster in concert, Alycia Putnam has been working on her fiddle chops and a deep repertoire of foot-stompin’ tunes. The result of this dedication has been three solo albums and thousands of live performances spanning the globe from Pictou to Amsterdam, and back to Pictou. 
Alycia’s most recent album, the much anticipated Wired for Sound, includes 13 tracks of traditional to more eclectic fiddle music and the immense talent of 10 of the province’s most well-known musicians.
Since her performing career took off in the late 90’s, Alycia has amassed a network of artists she regularly adds to her live performances depending on what’s needed for the gig. Her core family band (her dad, Robert, on guitar and her mom, Kelly, on bagpipes) can be expanded to feature percussion, bass, vocals, banjo, mandolin, and a suite of other sounds depending on who’s footing the bill. Regardless of the band’s 

Colin Grant

Hard-driving but clean, lively and passionate, traditional yet original; Colin Grant’s fiddle playing has stepped to the forefront of the East Coast traditional music scene. Although most at home with traditional Cape Breton fiddle music, his versatility as both a lead and side musician has given him experiences in a variety of traditional styles, in addition to folk, rock and country genres. Besides having received an ECMA nomination for Roots / Traditional Solo Album of the Year for his self-titled debut album, Grant  has preformed  with contemporary Celtic instrumental group Sprag Session and is a former member of the band Còig. Colin has  performed at festivals in Canada, United States, United Kingdom, France, Belgium, and Tasmania. He maintains a busy recording and  performance schedule .
The year 2014   brought exciting new collaborations with composers Scott Macmillan and Mary Ann Kennedy (UK) for ‘Aiseag’ (The Ferryboat) project, one of twenty commissions for the first UK-wide 2014 New Music Biennial Celebrations. Other highlights have included the release of Còig’s debut album and in 2016 Colin and Scott Macmillan release their new CD " GOOD2GO"

Crowdis Bridge

Like a well-distilled bottle of Appalachian Whiskey, Crowdis Bridge is smooth, complex, tasteful and good for all occasions. From foot-stomping, light-hearted songs to soul-searching melodies with lyrics that run deep, they produce a fine mash of folk, country-blues and bluegrass, pleasing both whiskey and music lovers alike.
This Cape Breton trio of multi-instrumentalists has been entertaining folks in small towns and strange places across the Maritimes since 2008. Their latest album “The Seasons & The Rhymes” explores universal themes of heartache, happiness and everything in between. The album has received wide-spread acclaim. Nominated by Music Nova Scotia for the 2012 Country/Bluegrass Album of the Year, “The Seasons & The Rhymes” continues to receive frequent regional and national airplay on CBC Radio 1 & 2, international airplay on and, and many local radio stations across Nova Scotia.The band continues to tour wherever there is an appetite for fine bluegrass, folk and country blues. They are presently working on their third album to be released later in 2014.

Darrell Keigan

Darrell's career in music began over twenty years ago, preforming at house parties, and local halls in Cape Breton. Celtic music was introduced to Darrell at an early age by his parents. Over the last two decades, Darrell has played to audiences throughout much of Eastern Canada, shared the stage with many great singers and musicians. He has released two albums, "First Flight" and "An Evening With Darrell Keigan".
Darrell creates a show that involves his audience. From local songs and stories to those taken from Scottish, Irish and Cape Breton history and whether he's playing to a packed hall, or sitting in a living room packed with friends, Darrell's love of music and people is instantly evident

Donnie Campbell and Jinks (James) )'Neill

Donnie Campbell and Jinks (James) O'Neill started performing together in 2014. Both are from Sydney and grew up in musical households. They have  travelled extensively with their music, Donnie with folk music and Jinks rock and roll bands giving them a vast repertoire of music from the revival, classic country, rock and roll of the 50's and 60's as well traditional music of Ireland, Scotland and Cape Breton.

Dwayne Cote

Dwayne Côté was raised in Grande Greve, Cape Breton in a family deeply rooted in all aspects of Cape Breton, Irish and Scottish music traditions--his mother being a renowned dancer, instructor, and performer and his father is the late Gordon Côté, a celebrated Celtic fiddler/teacher. Dwayne has played all over the world and has performed with John Allan Cameron, Graham Townsend, Sean McGuire, Buddy MacMaster, Jerry Holland and Dave MacIsaac among others. He is also a composer and has more than 200 tunes registered with SOCAN. Dwayne Côté is one of the most unique players in Atlantic Canada. His musical tones are inimitable and seldom forgotten. Dwayne Cote Fiddle Medley - YouTube


Gillian Head

With an interpretation, style, and energy all her own, Gillian Head delights audiences.  Her influences include the variation and modern style of contemporary fiddlers, as well as the strong roots of the traditional fiddlers of her native Cape Breton Island.  This combination leaves you with a taste of the strong, lively fiddling that Gillian is all about.

A stepdancer from a young age, Gillian took up the fiddle after falling in love with the music she danced to.  She took up the fiddle at age 9, initially taking lessons from Stephanie Wills for a short time, and then studying for years under the direction of the late Jerry Holland.  These early teachers, and love of dance, make for a distinctive rhythmic style of fiddling.

Gillian has played in Canada, the US, and even out on the ocean onboard the Holland-America Cruiselines!

In July 2014, Gillian released her debut album, "Spirit".  

Jason MacDonald

Jason MacDonald is an entertainer who reels listeners in with his dynamic acoustic musicianship and keeps them beguiled with his storytelling through the authentic songs he writes based on real-life experiences. The home he makes with his wife and two young daughters in the close-knit community of Gabarus Lake, Cape Breton, both in and out of doors, is a source of songwriting inspiration that seemingly never goes dry. Jason draws on the stories of his family — including his grandparents — who had deep roots in the Gabarus Lake area, not to mention his own experiences fishing lobster, building houses, crafting furniture, growing Christmas trees, hosting a radio program, and, of course, writing songs and playing his music for fans from Mabou to Milwaukee.
  He draws inspiration from his listeners as he travels a steady circuit that includes Cape Breton, mainland Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and the New England states. In  2012 Jason released his third full length recording "Got a Ways to Go". 
Jason’s website

Jason Price

Jason Price is a performing singer/songwriter from Lawrencetown, Nova Scotia. 's "True Roots" brand of Country Music brings the flavour of current country with hints and honest tones of classic country music.

Jason bought a second hand guitar in December of 2011 to teach his kids a life lesson that if you stick to what you start, you will get better, and it will reward you in many ways. In less than a year, Jason played his first live public performance, wrote his first song, performed in a sold out soft seater show put on by a local promoter, and made his television debut on CTV's Christmas Daddies.

Jason followed that up in year two by hosting a weekly acoustic open mic where he continued honing his skills as a performing songwriter. He became the front man of his own band, and began to amass a local fan base in multiple venues and festivals. In addition, he began working with a local music producer and publisher to start planning and preparing his music for a Nashville produced CD.

In May of 2015, recorded his debut CD, "Grit, Guts and Country Pride" at Oceanway and OMNI Studios in Nashville, TN with some of Nashville's finest musicians. As the road to CCMA week approached in Halifax, NS, showcased his songwriting abilities in a Songwriters Circle hosted by Michelle Wright. Jason released his debut album in August 2015, and followed it up with a very busy CCMA week. Jason also earned a showcase opportunity from Music Nova Scotia at Music Nova Scotia Week.

Bell Aliant identified Jason ’s affable demeanor and he was asked to fill the role as a guest host for their 2015 Cavendish Beach Music Festival television special. He worked with many artists including Alan Doyle, High Valley, Wes Mack, Gordie Sampson and Port Cities over the course of the weekend.

Jason released his debut single, “Pour Favour” to National Radio in February 2016. In March 2016, Jason along with Tebey, multi-genre songwriter and artist, and Shawn Verreault, Wide Mouth Mason, traveled to Kuwait to play for the Canadian and US Military Troops. Most recently, Jason released his debut video, “That Others May Live” to YouTube; within a one-week period, he had over 6000 views.

Jason returned to the Cavendish Beach Music Festival in July 2016, not only a Guest Host for Bell Aliant, but he also performed on the RBC Emerging Artist Stage. He was fortunate to work with many artists including Tebey, Megan Patrick, JoJo Mason, Benoit, The Road Hammers and many more.

It is Jason's baritone voice, his easy going demeanour, and a confident stage presence that immediately captivates his audience.

" unconventional journey to stardom...a beautiful voice...extremely talented..." Alyse H, and, co-host CTV Atlantic


John Curtis Sampson


John Curtis Sampson debuted his first original work in 2000. The recording “You Got Me” was a strong outing for him and accolades soon followed. Two East Coast Music Awards, - Country Artist of the Year, Best New Artist and The Galaxie Rising Star Award. “When I’m Drinkin’” and “Don’t Cry, Good-bye” make the top 100 on Canadian radio. “When I’m Drinkin’ was recorded by Australian Country Artist Adam Harvey on the Warner-Chappel l label and secured impressive airplay in that country. John Curtis has performed on The Mike Bullard Show and opened for Terri Clarke


In 2008 John fulfilled a life long dream and earned a college degree. He graduated from Nova Scotia Community College where is studied Human Services, Sociology, Psychology, Biology, Canadian Healthcare Systems.

He enrolled at Cape Breton University in 2010 where in majored in Psychology.Other studies include Public Speaking, Human Resources, Biology, Anthropology, Sociology, and Health Sciences. Today, John is a Community Outreach Counselor for the Community Homeless

Shelter in Sydney, N.S.


John wears two hats these days - councilor by day and a music artist by night. “It’s not about being a star for me anymore, says Sampson. But hey - I wouldn’t turn it down if it was offered- it is more about writing great songs for me. I love to write. I hope to write with other writers and perform my songs and hopefully, hear other artist perform my songs someday. A publishing deal would be idea! I am in no hurry this time. I’m taking in one day at a time.

Kelly MacArthur

Kelly MacArthur will be teaching a workshop in Cape Breton Step Dance. This is a percussive style of dance, which focuses on rhythm and timing to the music of Strathspeys, Reels & Jigs. Although its roots originated in Scotland, it has become infamous to a style of its own on Cape Breton Island. Kelly has been teaching for 30 years, and runs a dance Studio in Sydney, called the 'MacArthur School of Dance' ( Dancers will learn a few strathspey and reel steps, as well as basic Square Set patterns at this workshop.

Kim Dunn

Born and raised in North Sydney, Cape Breton, and living just outside of Halifax, Nova Scotia, multi award winning musician Kim Dunn has been working on a successful music career for 30 years now,with a brief four year reprieve studying Jazz at ST. FX. In addition to producing, musical directing and arranging credits, Kim has worked with the who’s who of East coast artists including, Rita MacNeil, Bruce Guthro, Laura Smith, Jimmy Rankin, Heather Rankin, Matt Anderson, Meaghan Smith, Dave Gunning, George Canyon, and many others. Kim is a 2016 MUSIC NOVA SCOTIA AWARD winner and in 2003 was the recipient of the first ever MUSICIAN SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT EAST COAST MUSIC AWARD, given not on the basis of votes but rather a selective process on the part of the Industry – an honor indeed to have been chosen in the year of the awards inception.After playing on countless cd’s of other artists, Kim decided to bring his own special brand of songwriting and singing to the foreground in 2010 with the release of his first solo recording project, TAKE THIS HAMMER, and again in the spring of 2016 with his much anticipated follow up album, INSPIRATION. INSPIRATION picks up where TAKE THIS HAMMER left off and as with its predecessor, offers listeners an indelible collection of well crafted, heartfelt songs anchored by a soulful pitch-perfect tenor delivery and incomparable musicianship. His biggest asset has always been versatility and he has implemented this feature prominently on these self-produced works, blending elements of Jazz, Blues, Pop, Folk & Country.Kim has performed his music with SYMPHONY NOVA SCOTIA, has recieved national exposure on CBC’s CANADA LIVE, and featured regionally on ATLANTIC AIRWAVES/EAST COAST HOUR & ALL THE BEST. He has successfully showcased at the EAST COAST MUSIC AWARDS, NOVA SCOTIA MUSIC WEEK, and notably, CONTACT EAST. He has also performed his music at various festivals throughout the country and continues to do so.Personal highlights include having had the chance to meet and work with Alison Krauss, Peter Gzowski, Philip Glass, and performing at the Montreal Jazz Festival.Kim has traveled and performed in the United States, Holland, Germany, Switzerland, and has toured extensively throughout Canada. His immediate plans for the future involve doing more shows of his own, but plans to remain actively involved and busy with his other musical ties as well.

Makayla Lynn

Handpicked by Reverbnation as one of only 250 artists from an original 4 million for their breakout artist CONNECT program, Makayla Lynn is a fresh face in the industry with the vocals, songwriting ability and stage presence that many call unprecedented for her age. Representing Nova Scotia in the 2016 CCMA Spotlight contest, the ECMA, Music NS and IMEA nominated artist boasts over 1 million video views from over 50,000 social media fans with the numbers climbing rapidly. The award winning singer/songwriter has penned hundreds of songs and released a debut Nashville recorded and produced album “Daydream” that saw 2 singles released across Canada with great success. With a follow up album currently being shopped to labels in Nashville, TN and released to the public March 24th, Makayla will not only show her songwriting ability with 11 originals on the album, but will also prove herself behind the scenes as a co-producer. A Taylor Guitars partnered artist, Makayla is no stranger to the stage, performing for the past 8 years all around the Maritimes, Ontario and in Nashville as an acoustic solo/duo/trio and fronting her own band since the incredibly young age of 12. She has shared the stage and opened for some of country music's biggest names and is a regular in front of crowds as large as 30,000 in some of the most iconic venues.

"Makayla Lynn just might be Canada’s next breakout country music star" - Canadian Musician Magazine

Nominated for Music Nova Scotia's 2016 Digital Artist of the Year, Makayla Lynn has 4 albums under her belt, including the award winning album "Daydream", followed up by "On a Dare and a Prayer" to be released March 24th 2017. Recorded in Nashville, TN and released in June 2014, "Daydream" was nominated for ECMA Country Album of the Year, ECMA Rising Star of the Year, IMEA Country Album of the Year as well as Music Nova Scotia's Country Recording of the Year. A ground breaking project for such a young artist, the album helped pave the way for Makayla Lynn as she ventures into the next steps in what is promising to be a very long career. The first 2 singles were released to 175 stations across Canada and made the DMDS charts for the most active indies in their first week at radio. Several of the songs from "Daydream" have landed Makayla nods in songwriting contests including being named a semi-finalist in the International Songwriting and Unsigned Only Contests, and a regional finalist in CBC's Searchlight Contest. "Daydream" quickly turned into something unprecedented for such a young East Coast musician and we are confident that "On a Dare and a Prayer" will far surpass the debut. Backed by a team of some of the most sought after A-list musicians in Music City (including the 2015 ACM Keyboardist of the Year and the 2014 ACM Bass Player nominee) the credentials behind Makayla's team are an artist's dream.... Just ask Dolly Parton, Randy Travis, Brad Paisley, Garth Brooks and just about every other legend in country music that have been lucky enough to be backed by them.

"Makayla Lynn has it...and it's just the beginning. She can hold a crowd of thousands with her singing/songwriting and playing. Can't wait to see what her budding career will bring the world of country music" ~ Russell MacKenzie, FX101.9fm - Halifax

A very active presence on the social media scene, Makayla has been experiencing a rapidly growing fan base with over 1 million views of her videos on youtube and more than 30,000 fans on her facebook page. She is currently ranked the #1 country artist in Nova Scotia and #2 in Canada by Reverbnation with more than 50,000 fans. At the prime age for social media, Makayla's internet based support system is expanding rapidly as she makes a name for herself all around the world.

The past 8 years have found Makayla Lynn performing alongside of many of country music's biggest icons. She has been fortunate enough to spend time and share stages with names like Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood, Eric Church, Kenny Chesney, Toby Keith, Brad Paisley, Tanya Tucker, Bill Anderson, Rascal Flatts, Tim McGraw, Kid Rock and countless others. In March 2013 at just 11 years old, Makayla took the stage with Juno Award Winning songwriter Serena Ryder for a duet in front of a sold out crowd. This performance turned heads and helped Makayla secure a name for herself as a sought after opening act for performers and venues. She has had the pleasure of opening for Country Music legends Ricky Skaggs and Joe Diffie, as well as Johnny Reid, Kira Isabella, Dallas Smith, Chad Brownlee, Charlie Major, The Road Hammers and others. She has joined award winning artists in songwriter's circles (Deric Ruttan - Grammy nominee for "Mine Would Be You" and Dave Carroll - "United Breaks Guitars") and has performed in showcases during many award weeks including the CCMA's and ECMA's. The list of major music festivals and venues Makayla has graced the stages of reads like a dream for most performers yet she has been able to make it a reality. The Bluebird Cafe (Nashville), Boots and Hearts Festival (Ontario), Cavendish Beach Music Festival (PEI), Maritime CountryFest (NB), Stan Rogers Festival (NS), Hugh's Room (ON), The Stage On Broadway, The Second Fiddle, Legend's Corner, Hotel Indigo, The Commodore, Nashville Palace (All in Nashville, TN) are among a few.

​"I have to say I was very surprised to hear such a "grown up" voice coming from such a young lady!! Very beautifully balanced, well controlled singer." said Kent Williams, Production/Booking Manager of three Nashville venues.

A straight A student attending high school on a part time basis, correspondence courses have allowed Makayla the freedom to perform and write daily. She prides herself on giving back, lending her musical talents to causes including the IWK Children's Hospital, The Canadian Cancer Society, The Kid's Help Phone, The Red Cross and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, to name a few. Makayla continues to tackle topical issues, using her gift of songwriting to help others in times of need. Her songs "The Joke's On You" and "Fallen Hero" continue to be used in world wide campaigns for the Red Cross and RCMP respectively.

Summer 2017 will find Makayla once again performing weekly at festivals and venues throughout the Maritimes while steadily writing and preparing for the next steps in her blossoming career.

Pretty Archie 

Pretty Archie is a Folk/Bluegrass band from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Long time friends Brian Cathcart (Lead Vocals, Guitar), Matt McNeil (Lead Guitar, Mandolin), Colin Gillis (Harmonica, Bass, Vocals) and Redmond MacDougall (Banjo, Percussion, Vocals) make up this quartet. Always jamming together growing up, they guys decided in May 2012 to form a band. The band chose the name Pretty Archie after a local (Cape Breton) character known for playing with 2 strings outside shopping malls in any weather and not always (or ever) in key. The guys thought the name Pretty Archie embodied the love of playing and performing music along with representing their hometown.
Pretty Archie’s first full length album was recorded in January 2013 at the famed Grant Ave. Studios in Hamilton, Ontario with well known producer/engineer Bob Doidge. The debut 11 song LP ‘Steel City’ was released on March 9th 2013 and is available on iTunes. ‘Steel City’ was nominated for Music Nova Scotia’s 2013 Country/Bluegrass Album of the Year. Pretty Archie recorded their second album ‘North End Sky’ at Soundpark Studios with Jamie Foulds. The highly anticipated ‘North End Sky’ was released January 27th 2015 and was featured on CBC Radio’s “East Coast Music Hour” as an album to look for in 2015.
Pretty Archie’s honest, fun loving and at times heartbreaking music finds common ground in the blurred genres of Country, Folk, Bluegrass and Blues. Pretty Archie is known for their entertaining, high energy, foot stomping shows. Their unique sound has lead to the band developing a following that grows after each show they play.

  Robert Bouchard

In 2014 Robert was inducted into the Nova Scotia Country Music Hall of Fame. He joins an impressive list of performers that have previously receive the honor. They include, Hank Snow, Wilf Carter, Anne Murray, Rita MacNeil, Carroll Baker, Joyce Seamone, Jim & Don Haggart, Jo-Ann Newman, Ned Landry and Don Messer to name a few. Robert has recorded a total of five independent albums. Robert has proven he is a great song writer as well as having a unique country voice people never get tired of listening too. He has enjoyed a large fan base over the years and after 45 years his fans are still there waiting in anticipation for his next album, gig or personal appearance. Robert has a dynamic stage presence and a sincere personality that makes a crowd feel good and keeps them coming back again and again. You'll enjoy his rich baritone voice as he sings his own unique style of country music straight from the heart. He has earned the title "Cape Breton's Country Gentleman" because of his constant mild manner and his humble personality.



Ryan Roberts 

Ryan Roberts is an award-winning songwriter from Eastern Canada. He lived in Music City USA for several years and toured full time with the Grammy Nominated Bluegrass band Special Consensus. What sets him apart is his songs have made been recorded in the styles of bluegrass, country, jazz, and R&B, Hip Hop and EDM. He is an accomplished instrumentalist and producer and is currently working on a new album due to be released in the new year.Ryan Roberts .