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       Meaghan Blanchard
The Cape Breton School of the Arts
Chrissy Crowley,          Howie MacDonald
Christine Melanson      MacNeil Sisters
Jason MacDonald        Brenda Stubbert
Buddy MacDonald       David Meuse
Keith Mullins                Blanche Sopholeous     
Anita MacDonald         David Carroll 
Andrew Fedora            Naming The Twins    
Darren McMullen         Harold MacIntyre     
Dara MacDonald           Catherine MacLellan
Ben Miller                       Laura Smith 
Pretty Archie                  Chris Ryan
Dave Gunning                Nicole LeBlanc
Joseph Gillis                  James MacLean
Lyrics and Laughterm    Doucette Sisters
Rob MacLean                   Leona Burkey
Decota McNamara           David Stone
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

2021 Performers

Acoustic Roots Festival  happening Sept 3 - 5. Make your plans to attend . Here are this years performers


Pretty Archie

Dwayne Cote

Kim Dunn

Norma MacDonald

Roger Stone

Doug Sampson

Rg Schaller

Mike Hall 

Beverly MacLean

Morgan Toney

Mario Colosimo

Hearts of Kin

Steve MacIntyre

Terry Peters

Darrell Keigan 

Jason MacDonald

Donnie Campbell

Jinks O'Neil

Jordon Musycsyn

Dara MacDonald

Adam Young

Rob Murphy

MacArthur Dancers

John Curtis Sampson

David Stone





2019 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.

Adrianne Chapman


Adrianne is excited to have recently returned to the music scene as a solo artist after a successful run with her Celtic/Folk duo. Since 2014, she’s won multiple awards and grants, and recorded two albums. Currently, she is working toward recording her first solo album, featuring a song she co-wrote with Breagh MacKinnon, called “Back of My Mind”.

She's a regular performer at the Celtic Colours International Festival and has shared the stage around Nova Scotia with many accomplished local and foreign artists. The combination of her diverse vocal skills and sincere emotion will captivate and leave you wanting more, whether she’s belting it out or lulling you with a ballad.

She’s honoured to be accompanied this year by talented musicians Adam Young, piano, and Jennie McKibbon, guitar and cello.

For more information on Adrianne’s upcoming performances and recordings, visit her website:


Catherine MacLellan

Catherine MacLellan has become one of Canada’s finest and favourite singer-songwriters on her own merits. She’s kept away from the media circus and celebrity scene, preferring to live at home in rural P.E.I. She’s worked diligently at her craft, releasing a series of remarkable, creative albums, culminating in the Juno Award-winning The Raven’s Sun from 2014, to go along with multiple East Coast Music Awards, Canadian Folk Music Awards, and Music PEI Awards. Most impressively, she has chosen to carve out her career path without trading on her family name.

That’s pretty hard to do, when your father is one of the country’s most famous songwriters. Gene MacLellan wrote two world-wide, multi-million selling smash hits: “Snowbird” by Anne Murray, and “Put Your Hand in the Hand” by Ocean. There are dozens more gems, including “The Call”, “Bidin’ My Time”, “Shilo Song” and “The Reunion Song”. But Catherine insisted on making it on her own.

Chris Ryan

Hailing from St. John’s Newfoundland, Chris Ryan has been entertaining crowds for over a decade. With his gritty voice, stellar guitar playing and high energy stage presence, has become a mainstay in the Atlantic Canadian entertainment scene. Since the release of his self titled debut album, Chris has caught the attention of the East Coast music industry, playing showcases during East Coast Music Week and Music Nfld. & Labrador Week, along with receiving nominations for “Country Recording of the Year” and “Songwriter of the Year”.  Chris has performed at the prestigious Newfoundland & Labrador Folk Festival and the Halifax Urban Folk Festival, as well as share the stage with country music legends Toby Keith and Deana Carter, Canadian music royalty Blue Rodeo, Great Big Sea’s Alan Doyle and Canadian folk favorites Fortunate Ones
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.

Danelle and Celine Doucet

Sisters Danelle (fiddle) and Céline (piano) have been performing publicly for the past 11 years, both locally and internationally. They have opened for the Colin Grant Band, Lennie Gallant, and Heather Rankin locally and have performed as a duo in Normandy, France at the week long Acadian festival in 2012. They have also been invited as youth guest performers at the Canadian Grand Masters Fiddle Competition in Ottawa, Ontario and spent two years as members of Atlantic Canada Ceilidh–a group of local musicians who performed for local conferences. Céline and Danelle have been employed for three years by the Cheticamp Arts Council as musicians, dancers and actors. They have played at the Halifax Celtic festival for the last two years, and recorded on three CDs (Rénée Doucet, Canadian Grand Masters 2010, and in a compilation of local artists, Cheticamp).


Donnie Campbell and Jinks (James) O'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


Howie MacDonald

Howie MacDonald is a well-respected fiddler from Westmount, Cape Breton County. He has been a performer as long as he can remember. Whether at a family gathering or an international concert hall, Howie's job was always to entertain. He has released eleven albums and a DVD and spent many years touring and recording with the Rankin Family. Howie has expanded his talents and gained popularity as a comedian recently for his roles in musical comedy revues Island Mania, Howie's Celtic Brew, The Dance Last Night, and the Cape Breton Summertime Revue. An accomplished piano player who has accompanied just about everyone on the island, Howie is also very much in demand for dances, concerts, ceilidhs and recording sessions. In May of 2019 Howie released a brand new CD titled "Shades of Tartan.Howie MacDonald is a well-respected fiddler from Westmount, Cape Breton County. He has been a performer as long as he can remember. Whether at a family gathering or an international concert hall, Howie's job was always to entertain. He has released eleven albums and a DVD and spent many years touring and recording with the Rankin Family. Howie has expanded his talents and gained popularity as a comedian recently for his roles in musical comedy revues Island Mania, Howie's Celtic Brew, The Dance Last Night, and the Cape Breton Summertime Revue. An accomplished piano player who has accompanied just about everyone on the island, Howie is also very much in demand for dances, concerts, ceilidhs and recording sessions. In May of 2019 Howie released a brand new CD titled "Shades of Tartan.


James MacLean

Hailing from East Lake Ainslie, Cape Breton, James MacLean has been playing music for over 15 years. He started from a young age taking piano lessons from the late Marianne Jewell, but then migrated towards guitar. It was in his late teens when he began lessons with Cape Breton guitarist, Brian Doyle, that his love for traditional Cape Breton music began to blossom. After high school, James decided to pursue a degree in music, and under the tutelage of Scott MacMillan, earned his Bachelor of Music from Dalhousie University in 2015. James recently released his debut self titled album with the help from The Frank “Big Sampie” Sampson award. His new album is comprised of all traditional Cape Breton music played on a flat picked guitar and is accompanied by some of Cape Bretons finest musicians such as Mac Morin, Patrick Gillis, Kenneth MacKenzie and his aunt Karen Beaton.


Jason MacDonald

Singer/songwriter Jason MacDonald’s passion for music plays out in a driving acoustic fashion, wonderful storytelling and a warm personality that connects immediately with his audience. Since 2002 Jason has released three full length CDs and one EP of original material.  Tracks from his CDs have received significant radio airplay. His music has earned him award nominations from Music Nova Scotia, East Coast Music Awards, Independent Singer-Songwriter Assoc. and Top Honours in the Indie International Songwriters Contest. He has showcased at NS Music Week, East Coast Music Awards and Canadian Country Music Awards. A track from his last recording was chosen for the Atlantic Film Festival Music and Images Compilation. Recently he has licensed a track form one of his CDs to Sailing – Classics of Germany for use in promoting their cruise ship business. He has toured in the US several times doing shows booked through New England Celtic Arts. He has performed at several festivals that include the Milwaukee Irish Festival, Celtic Colours International festival, Kempt Shore Acoustic Festival and Acoustic Roots Festival to name a few. In 2017 Jason toured in Western Canada that included performances at Calgary Folk Club and Northern Lights Folk Club in Edmonton


John Campbelljohn

John released his debut in ’93 and, as his originality begged immediate attention, with accolades pouring in across the next six releases: Blues Artist of the Year, Guitarist of the Year, Slide Guitarist of the Year. Regular nominations and a mantle-full of awards – as well as constant recognition and critical praise for both his recordings and his live performances – keep him in the limelight and feed his soul but, in true Maritime tradition, he prefers to further refine his craft in a self-driven quest for perfectionism that comes with the territory. Not content to be revered for the originality of his songwriting, his celebrated slide skills, his cut-to-measure vocals and his fan-friendly stage prowess, Campbelljohn can now add pedal steel guitar to his already sizable arsenal. At the same time, he is amping up his home recording capabilities to lay down his more adventurous ideas at his convenience as well as offer help to up-and-coming talent in search of hands-on direction.

John Campbelljohn is an exceptional blues musician with great instincts, tastefully concise solos and a no-nonsense approach to giving his fans the good times they not only deserve – but have come to expect. John Campbelljohn is one nose-to-the-grindstone artist who is rarely satisfied with doing his absolute best and it is this very drive and ambition which keeps him in the foreground.

John Campbelljohn: front man; sideman; consummate showman; proud Cape Bretoner; Canadian bluesman. He’s redefined success at home and away.


2012 2012 Blues Recording of the Year - Celtic Blues - Winner
Music Nova Scotia Awards

2012 Blues Recording of the Year - Celtic Blues - Nominee
East Coast Music Awards

2011 Blues Recording of the Year - Good to Go - Nominee
East Coast Music Awards

2010 Entertainer Of The Year- Nominee
Music Nova Scotia Awards

2010 Blues Record Of The Year- Nominee
Good To Go
Music Nova Scotia Awards

2010 Musician Of The Year- Nominee
Music Nova Scotia Awards




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.

MacArthur Dancers
The MacArthur Dancers are known for their award winning creative stage Choreography, as well as their Traditional Celtic Dance performances. In 2017, they won the Canadian Choreography Challenge Title. The dancers are trained in Scottish Highland Dance, Cape Breton Step Dance, Hip Hop, Lyrical, Jazz, Contemporary and Modern styles. This helps to enhance their stage and performance skills, and bring Choreography to life on stage. Whether it be a local charity, international festival, or a professional stage show, these dancers perform at over 100 events a year. Cape Breton Island is known for its living Gaelic/Scottish culture, and this group has been continuing this passion through a shared love of dance, expressed through instruction and performance. They will continue to pass this along through many generations to come.(</span>


Laura Smith

A singer-songwriter with four, full-length recordings, I have lived and worked in Nova Scotia since August of 1984. I’ve embarked on several tours across Canada over the years and I’ve performed in Europe, the UK and the United States. My 1989 debut album, Laura Smith, was recorded after my demo was chosen from those submitted to the Variety Recordings competition at CBC in 1988. It opened the doors for me into the world of concertizing. After being selected for a Canada Council maintenance grant to continue composing in 1990, I began work on my second album, B’tween The Earth and My Soul. It was released in 1995 and garnered two East Coast Music Awards for Album  of the Year and Female artist of the Year . I was also nominated for a Juno Award in 1997 my third album, It’s A Personal Thing, received seven nominations for East Coast Music Awards. A series of debilitating injuries curtailed my ability to compose, perform or record until I was able to release my first recording in 16 years, Everything Is Moving, on Canada’s premier folk music label, Borealis Records. I co-produced this record with the uber-talented Paul Mills at his studio, The Millstream.  I was delighted to include Kim Dunn's  gorgeous song, Inspiration from his album of the same name.

Leona Burkey

Leona Burkey has been keeping it pretty close to the floor as a solo artist for some 20 years. Influenced by the story-song tradition and roots music of her Cape Breton home, she has hauled guitar and notebook all around the country, gathering up an eclectic collection of dedicated fans along the way. Leona's "glad to be home" EP release in 2013 (the Margaret Marie EP) marked a new-old soul's first offering to Nova Scotia's songwriter scene.  Known for spinning yarns, articulate guitar playing and honest lyrics, her latest project "Wave Theory" reflects the sounds of home and the long road back. The subtle tension between Leona's open blue sky vocals and her subject matter are captured perfectly in this remarkable full-length debut.

Maxim Cormier

Maxim Cormier is an award-winning guitarist and composer from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. He is trained in classical, jazz and world music with a B.Mus from Dalhousie University in guitar performance. He has performed across Canada and toured in Scotland, England, Australia, and France. 
‘Maxim Cormier Plays J.S. Bach’ is Maxim’s solo recording, in which he performs classical music differently - with a flat pick on a steel string guitar. This differs from the norm, where classical guitar music is normally played on a nylon string guitar without a pick.  “Maxim Cormier plays J.S. Bach" features music originally written for flute, lute, keyboard/voice (featuring mezzo-soprano Aurélie Cormier).
Maxim’s fourth studio album, ‘Maxim and Gervais Cormier: Cape Breton Guitar’ is a Celtic duo album with his father, Gervais, was released December 1 2017.
When he’s not working on his music, Maxim spends his time teaching others. He has taught at the Gaelic College in Cape Breton, facilitated workshops for Celtic Colours International Festival’s “Roots to the Room” program, taught guitar with Feis Rois in the highlands of Scotland.
“His desire to do things differently led to his playing classical guitar with a flatpick, and it's not just a worthy experiment, it's a revelation.” (Bob Mersereau/Top 100 Canadian Blog)
Independent Music Awards
2018 Instrumental EP of the Year: Maxim Cormier Plays J.S. Bach (Winner)
2015 Song - World Traditional: Cape Breton Medley (Nominee)
East Coast Music Awards
2014 Traditional Instrumental Recording of the Year: Maxim Cormier 2 (Nominee)
Music Nova Scotia Awards
2018 Trad/Roots Recording of the Year: Cape Breton Guitar (Winner)
2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, and 2013 Francophone/Acadian Artist of the Year (Winner)
2018 and 2017 Educator of the Year (Nominee)
2017 Classical Recording of the Year: Maxim Cormier Plays J.S Bach (Nominee)
2016 Musician of the Year (Nominee)
2014 Jazz Recording of the Year: Maxim Cormier 2 (Nominee)
2013 Roots/Traditional Recording of the Year: Maxim Cormier Debut (Nominee)
International Acoustic Music Awards
2014 Instrumental of the Year: Le Grand Boulanger de L'est (Winner)
2015 Instrumental of the Year (Nominee)
Celtic Colour's Volunteer Drive'ers Association
2012 Big Sampie Award (Winner)
Canadian Folk Music Awards
2014 Solo Instrumental Artist of the Year: Maxim Cormier 2 (Nominee)
2013 Solo Instrumental Artist of the Year: Maxim Cormier Debut (Nominee)
USA Song Competition
​2014 Instrumental: Danielle (Nominee)

Nicole LeBlanc

Nicole LeBlanc is an Acadian singer-songwriter from Chéticamp. She has been sharing her pride in her culture through music for several years now. With the help of le Conseil des arts de Chéticamp as well as la Société Saint-Pierre, she loves passing on her love of music to others, young and old. She is the music teacher at her childhood school, École NDA, and has recently opened her own private music studio at l’École de musique Raveston Music School in her hometown. Whether she’s on stage, in the classroom, at church or at a kitchen party, she enthusiastically shares the traditional music as well as her own compositions with people around her. She believes that her ancestors built a great foundation for our culture and music is the ideal way of sharing its values.

  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.