by John Symon – mtltimes.ca
This Canada Day weekend sees the first annual Blues Festival with 14 bands lined up in St-Zotique. The venue is the St-Zotique Golf Course and all this is organized by the people behind Smoke Meat Pete’s diner on Ile Perrot.
“I think the summer time is the best time for this type of event,” says Pete Varvaro, owner of Smoke Meat Pete’s. “The weather is good an we have lots of tourist in Quebec. I live in St-Zotique it’s a great little town with friendly people; town hall welcomed the idea with open arms. This is just the beginning. I would like to be able to get all local business involved next year so we can all work together on this. The blues festival is just another part of the dream!”
Starting at 12 noon on Saturday, July 2, the following bands are up on stage: Smokin’ Pete & Hawk n Roll; 1:30 PM The Contractors; 3:PM Jimmy James; 4:30 PM Paola Stante; 6:PM Justin Saladino; 7:30 PM Paul Arthur Raisin’ Cain and 9PM Jim Zeller. Sunday’s lineup includes: 12 PM Smokin’ Pete & Hawk n Roll; 1:30 PM. Brian Smith trio; 3:PM The Devil Dawgs; 4:30 PM James Green & the Blues Electric; 6:PM Brian Greenway Blues Bus; and 7:30 PM Shane Murphy.
“We’ve ordered in good weather,” continues Varvaro. “But even if it does rain, we have this beautiful tent with a capacity to hold 400 people and the stage.” He adds that there is ample free parking and many washrooms.
Varvaro is a big fan of blues singer, songwriter, and guitarist John Lee Hooker (1912 – 2001) who rose to prominence performing an electric guitar-style adaptation of Delta blues. “My friend, Hawk, and I played on the diner’s terrace in homage to Hooker. Live blues music has become a staple at Smoke Meat Pete’s ever since…”
When we asked what a busy restauranteur is doing organizing a festival, Varvaro explains, “I believe in the concept. It’s all part of the dream. I love blues music. I love to cook & make my customers happy. Why not bring it all together under one tent for two days?” He expects some 800 people to share the dream over two days.
Varvaro also gives much credit to his wife, Melanie Booth, “for doing a large portion of the promoting. Many others have helped, including my staff who dedicated their time and efforts. Local sponsors include: Harley Davidson Valleyfield (banners); Long & McQuade (sound system); Sleeman’s (beer); Lou Tech (fencing) and, of course, the golf course.”
St-Zotique is about 50 minutes west of Montreal along Quebec Highway 20, on the way to Toronto. A swimming beach and camping are available nearby.
Tickets start at $30 (one day pass) for the Early Bird Special or $45 (two days). Tickets can also be purchased (cash only) at the gate for $45 for one day or $60 for two days. Tickets vendors include Smoke Meat Pete’s (283 1st Ave, Île-Perrot, QC 514.425.6068) and the St-Zotique Golf Course (1350 Rue Principale, St-Zotique, J0P 1Z0 450.267.3666) or online: www.SmokeMeatPete.com
Smoke Meat Pete’s Blues Festival
July 2-3, 2016
St-Zotique Golf Course
Exit 12 from Highway 20 W.