AULAC, N.B. – For the second straight year, Fort Beauséjour-Fort Cumberland offered up a unique experimental music performance that shook the national historic site to its very foundations.
Featuring New Brunswick professional guitarists Denis Surette, Stephen LeBlanc and Jock Downs, Guitar War in the Fort was a resounding success if this year’s attendance numbers are any indication.
Mathieu D'Astous, visitor experience manager at the fort, said they estimate more than 400 people attended Sunday afternoon’s event, more than double that of last year’s inaugural event.
“We had really good feedback from last year’s edition,” he said, immediately following the dueling guitarists’ performance, “so we thought this would be something we could build on and have evolve over time.”
Like his two “opponents,” LeBlanc performed at last year’s event and said he was excited when he was invited back.
“It’s awesome. It’s a great non-tech thing to do to come out and do on a Sunday and it’s kind of fun to see that it’s a family thing …even my wife and kids are out here and my kids aren’t on a computer. They’re out here playing.”
Surrette said when he was asked to participate in last year’s Guitar War he jumped at the chance.
“To hear loud guitars in a wide-open space, it’s been a dream of mine for so very long.”
He admitted they all went into last year’s event a bit nervous, not knowing what to expect in terms of how the audience would react.
“But at the end of the show last year we had so much positive feedback. I still had feedback two months later.”
And a constant theme amidst all that input was people kept asking if the event would be returning in 2018, so, like LeBlanc, Surrette said he was thrilled to be invited back.
And Surrette has a theory as to why the event strikes such a chord with the audience.
“People love loud guitars in historic sites, obviously.”