A Festival Antigonish Kitchen Party

Unleash the Maritime magic and let the kitchen rock!

July 29, 2023


Sponsored by Highcrest Enterprises

Toe-tapping, fun-loving local professional musicians gather on our stage to share their songs with each other – and you! A celebration of our community and the power of music.

Heidi Burns
Josée Champoux
Allan Dewar
Nathan Bishop MacDonald
Abigail MacDonald
Betsy MacDonald
Steve MacIntyre
Malcolm MacNeil
John Pellerin

Developed by Andrea Boyd & Matt Lacas


Heidi Burns was born and raised in Antigonish County, Nova Scotia. She began playing the drums at the age of eight. Heidi can be heard playing a range of styles – most often jazz and rock – with various bands and artists in Nova Scotia. In addition to live performances, Heidi has recorded in studio with indie-rock group Piner, as well as singer songwriter duo Moira and Claire. Heidi is currently entering her fourth year in StFX University’s Bachelor of Music jazz program.

Josée Champoux is a 24 year-old singer/songwriter from Antigonish Nova Scotia. She is a graduate from Holland College School of performing arts and she is a graduate from Berklee College of Music with a degree in songwriting. Josée is now living in Nashville, Tennessee working as a performer and songwriter. She is so excited to be back in her hometown performing where it all started!

Allan Dewar’s background in the Cape Breton musical tradition is the foundation of his ability to accompany fiddlers like Jerry Holland for dances and ceilidhs and new generation fiddlers like Troy MacGillivray, Andrea Beaton and Shelly Campbell. Growing up in Halifax (Nova Scotia), Allan’s first thirteen years consisted of regular visits from Dave MacIsaac and anyone else who came to the city for a Cape Breton dance. He started using the acoustic guitar, playing for his sister on fiddle and mother on piano. Around the age of 8, he started to play along on the piano while his mother would play solos or to a tape playing on the stereo sound system. He was instructed to “do it right if you are going to do it at all“. Allan learned by ear and he attended every concert, dance and house party he could. Moving to Antigonish at age 13 was the best thing that could have pushed this interest forward. He soon became a regular every summer playing for local dances and “filling in for a set” to give the piano player a break. Allan has toured around the world with Jerry Holland, Ashley MacIsaac, Natalie MacMaster and Troy MacGillivray, absorbing all genres of music along the way.

Nathan Bishop MacDonald is an award-winning singer/songwriter/Multi-Instrumentalist from Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, who has delighted audiences across Canada and abroad. Nathan was primary songwriter for Canadian Celtic bands, Celtae and Finlaggan and has also recorded and released music under the name Nathan Bishop. Nathan’s roots are firmly planted in the fertile musical soil of the Cape Breton Celtic traditions, but his branches reach toward contemporary folk with tinges of blues, pop and Americana. He effortlessly distills these elements into a nostalgic sound that has been described as “saltwater soul.” This talented multi-instrumentalist sets thought-provoking, clever lyrics over memorable melodies and soundscapes, delivering them in a rich, powerful baritone with just the right amount of grit. Toronto’s Now Magazine once described his songwriting as “Poignant”, and Nathan’s voice has been described as “silk with a touch of whisky and razor blades.”

Abagail MacDonald, from St. Andrews, has a deep connection to Gaelic language and culture. Her father, a respected fiddler from a long line of musicians, instilled in her a love for music from a young age. In the summers, she works at the Gaelic College in St. Ann’s, and regularly performs at local ceilidhs as a of piano accompanist, Gaelic singer, and step dancer. She is currently pursuing a master’s in occupational therapy at Queen’s University.

Betsy MacDonald is a folk singer-songwriter, guitarist, and member of Antigonish band Betsy’s Boots.

Words that make you think. Melodies that get stuck in your head. Steve MacIntyre offers up both in abundance. An East Coast storyteller who makes his home in Cape Breton, Steve grew up surrounded by the best artists and entertainers in the world. It is here that he honed his craft and ability to capture an audience. It is here that he began writing songs of love and loss, travel and reflection, and it is here that you can find him spinning stories that leave people wanting more.

With deep family roots in Cape Breton Celtic music, Malcolm MacNeil is carving out his space in the local scene, performing on guitar and fiddle. Malcolm first began playing fiddle at age 5, and at age 13, began playing guitar. Along with Cape Breton Celtic music, he can be heard in bands playing rock, pop, country, and jazz. Some of the artists Malcolm has performed with include The Barra MacNeils and Heather Rankin. Malcolm currently studies Jazz at St. Francis Xavier University.

Originally from Antigonish, Nova Scotia, John Pellerin started step dancing at age 4 under the instruction of Margaret Dunn, the Late Reverend Angus Alex MacDonnell, Ellen MacIntyre and Garry Fidler. At the age of ten he began violin lessons under the direction of Stan Chapman. His father Kenneth is a fiddle player who has played for dances and gatherings for many years in the Antigonish area. Dancing and fiddling has brought John throughout Canada, USA and Ireland. He has appeared on television and video. In 2000 John was invited to Dublin Ireland to perform in Abhann Productions “The Well” a production which was dedicated to our Gaelic and Celtic relations, shared but scattered. John has played the fiddle and step danced alongside Buddy MacMaster, Winnie Chafe, the late John Morris, Natalie MacMaster, Ashley MacIsaac, among many others.

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Sponsors - MacLeod Group
Sponsor - Atlantic Windows