Festival Feature: Full Circle

Full Circle

The Full Circle Festival, a newfangled stringband hootenanny, happens this year June 22 to 24 at the Avon River Heritage Museum in Newport Station. Here at The Grapevine, we’d heard that in addition to great music, food, and fun there were a few instances of things coming, well — no better way to put it — full circle at the festival this year.

Devin Lake grew up in Avondale, and lived up north for many years. He’s just brought his young family back to Avondale and built a house right across from the festival site. His band, The Basin Brothers, is performing this year. “My family has a long history in this area and I was lucky to grow up down here,” says Devin. “I always had in my mind to move back if and when the time was right. My wife and I have two small children and living close to grandparents and starting to plant roots was important. There is a sense of place and community here that is authentic to me.”

“I was pretty smitten that such an interesting little festival was now happening at the end of my driveway. It was a bit surreal walking down and taking it in the first year. To be honest, it inspired me to get a musical outfit off the ground – the Basin Brothers.”

This year the Basin Brothers — Devin Lake, Chase Ross, Jesse Griffith, and Tony Wood — will be playing 9-10pm on the Saturday night of the festival.
“If you’re in the area, just follow your ears to the pedal steel guitar,” says Devin. “We’re working on a new album so we’ll be playing a mix of old and new.” You can check out more about the band at thebasinbrothers.com/audio

Chloe & Charles are a couple who first connected at Full Circle Festival, then had a number of relationship milestones during the festival. They are getting married at the festival site this July.

The couple, who now live in Halifax, met at the festival in 2014. Charles grew up in Halifax and Chloe grew up in rural Pictou County, but both were in Avondale at just the right time to meet.

After getting engaged in December, the couple decided to plan for a summer wedding — in eight months! “We’d never talked even hypothetically about where we’d like to have a wedding,” says Chloe. The Full Circle Festival venue was Charles’ idea, and as soon as we started talking about getting married where we met, it just felt so… right. A true full circle. It felt like fate all over again that the venue happened to have an opening for mid-July!”

If the weather cooperates, they’ll have the ceremony in the little lighthouse gazebo by the Avondale Wharf. A dinner and reception will be in the boat-building barn afterwards.

“It’s a tie between the ceremony and the big friend/family reunion. Two of our dear friends will be playing “our song” as I walk down the aisle, and imagining the ceremony makes me want to weep happy tears,” she says, “My family is American, so I relish any chance for a family reunion — especially on my mother’s side, since she passed away in the summer of 2014. Having her side of the family at the wedding means the world to me.”

But before the wedding comes another Full Circle Festival and the couple is already looking forward to the music. “I am definitely most excited about Ida Red — Heather Kelday is an amazing musician, as are the rest of the band members. I love the energy they bring to Full Circle. And not to mention the wonderfully strange and enthusiastic dance parties that always seem to take place when Ida Red hits the stage!” says Chloe. “Who knows, maybe two people will even bump into each other on that dance floor, and decide to get married there 4 years down the road!”

Speaking of Heather Kelday, of Ida Red — she’s performed at Full Circle a few times and it was only when she wandered into the museum one time that she realized that her ancestors are from Avondale!

Ida Red plays a rowdy fun mix of old-time fiddle and banjo tunes, mixed in with original songs created by the brilliant and powerful team of Heather Kelday and Kim Barlow. Dennis Robinson plays fiddle and mandolin and Peter Williams plays the stand-up bass. Everybody sings! You catch their performance on Sunday morning of the Full Circle Festival.