Concerts to rally support against oil and gas exploration

By Wes Stewart - Music Section
Cape Breton Post
Thursday, July 3, 2003

See also Sierra Club's National Site on the Cape Breton Oil and Gas Issue

Ottawa - Artists will be performing at two concerts this summer to rally support for protests against oil and gas exploration off Cape Breton.

The Save our Seas and Shore Coalition announced the Phillip Glass and Friends Concert will be held Saturday at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, featuring Cape Breton and internationally renowned artists.

The coalition of fishermen, First Nations, tourist and environmental groups launched its 2003 summer campaign to rally support to protect the fishery, endangered species and seascapes in near shore Cape Breton.

It is a protest by SOSS to prevent oil companies Hunt Oil and Corridor Resources from conducting seismic exploration this winter on three leases off Sydney and Cheticamp.

Sierra Club of Canada executive director Elizabeth May said it has been a four-year campaign and more work lies ahead. "We are looking at a long term campaign and awareness raising."

To do that they have organized concerts in Ottawa and Cape Breton. "We want to bring people in Ottawa and Cape Breton together to have a good time and (at the same time) protest the exploration offshore, " she said.

The Phillip Glass and Friends Concert features some of Canada's outstanding musical performers including Rita MacNeil, Gaelic singer Mary Jane Lamond and fiddler Kendra Macgillivray.

Major Canadian star Colin James joins a pan-Canadian lineup with Lorena McKennett and the McGarrigle sisters. The new blues sensation Chocolate Genius from New York also will perform.

In August, Cape Breton will be the scene of two musical events - Aug. 10 at the
Savoy Theatre, Glace Bay and Aug. 11 at Strathspey Place in Mabou - as SOSS hosts more awareness raising concerts.

Guitarist and composer Scott MacMillan has been lining up the talent with Gordie Sampson, Mary Jane Lamond, Brian Doyle, Dawn Beaton, local Gaelic singers and fiddlers committed so far, May said.

"Some places are just too important to existing industries like fishery and tourism and too sensitive environmentally to allow oil and gas," she said.