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January 18, 2017. Alex Cook. The East

Halifax is seeing a second run of the GroundSwell Music Festival coming this March. The artist management team will be celebrating music, food, and drink from around Nova Scotia during the St Patrick’s Weekend (seriously, was one day ever enough), and they’ve just announced their festival line-up.

The three-day event will kick off on Thursday, March 16th and run until March 18th. Shows will be held at Spatz Theatre Thursday night, and then move to Olympic Hall for the rest of the weekend.

Focusing on artists from the GroundSwell roster like The Stanfields, Rawlins Cross, and Like A Motorcycle, they’re bringing in some well known Nova Scotian names like Heather Rankin and In-Flight Safetyand emerging talents like Ria Mae, The Royal Volts, and Arsoniste.

GroundSwell Music’s Ian McKinnon says that rounding out the line-up was a team effort between their office, and booking agent Jason MacIsaac  of The MacIsaac Agency. “We assembled a wish list and then Jason went to work contacting artist agents, checking availability and negotiating fees.”

McKinnon says that the festival grew out of a need, not just to celebrate what Nova Scotia has (and plenty of it), but from a need to diversify.

The music industry, as we all know, has changed substantially over the past 15 years. With the dramatic rise of the internet and the decline of recorded music sales, previous business models have been thrown on their ear. Where independent music companies like GroundSwell Music could once focus on one or two areas of the industry and generate decent revenues, nowadays, it is important to diversify, be even more entrepreneurial and look for opportunities in the space. We saw the festival and special event market as a natural area of growth for us.

With previous experience producing and promoting shows like The Stanfields’ Blacktop Ball in Pictou County, the decision to promote Nova Scotian music and hospitality in the heart of Halifax made for a natural fit. The GroundSwell Music Festival is also putting an emphasis on the province’s growing local food and local drink industries. Last year they partnered with Garrison Brewery, Jost Wines, and Bulwark Cider, as well as Sobeys and Chef Life on the food front to create a delicious menu and they’re looking to add more this year.

“We want people hearing, drinking and eating the best that Nova Scotia has to offer. Imagine the warmth and energy of the quintessential Nova Scotia kitchen party and then multiply that by 100,” says McKinnon. Our first year of the GroundSwell Music Festival was a decent success. There was a substantial learning curve for us. The feedback from our guests was amazing. We’re expecting a huge return of those people in our second year.”

Expect to see a good cross section of acts. GroundSwell made a point of casting a wider net with their line-up to appeal to everyone – featuring some Celtic, some Pop music and some Rock.