Great weather, music

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There is no scientific reason behind Leonard Bastien’s confidence.


But the musician has near-ultimate faith in the fact the weekend after Canada Day will feature fine weather for the annual Happy Trails Country Hoedown and Open Jamboree at Sand Hills Park.

“Always the same weekend – never been rained out yet,” he said.

Bastien conceded sufficient – or more than sufficient – rain has accompanied the arrival of summer, 2013. But Saturday along Lake Erie’s north shore at the 12th annual event, the atmospheric proof was in the sky for all to see.

“Today, this is unbelievable,” he smiled. “This is super.”

The first hour of music rolling off the elevated stage was forecasting two days of quality jamming. Bastien’s playlist had 27 different performers on it by 1 p.m., and was an ongoing work in progress.

“There’s some still coming,” he said, as additions continued to filter toward his command centre, picnic tables arranged into an ‘L’ shape, supporting both he and his venerable mixer.

The 75-year-old Bastien began playing with his father at the age of 12, and has met upwards of 650 fellow musicians across six decades of making music. He had had a seasonal site at Sand Hills for roughly a decade, when park management invited him to host the inaugural jam.

The format has been semi-formalized over the jam’s 12-year history. It opens Saturday at 1 p.m. and continues into that evening.

“Sometimes six, sometimes eight (p.m.),” said Bastien. “Whenever people get tired.”

Sunday’s musical offerings open with two hours of gospel beginning at 10 a.m.

“And then it’s whatever people want to play,” said Bastien.

The event is based on musical friends and musical fun, and does require a 15-hour commitment from Bastien, who figures it’s more than worthwhile.

“It’s so good to see people enjoying themselves playing together,” he concluded.



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