In true Stan Rogers spirit, Troy Greencorn celebrates the spirit of fellowship, the joy of music, and the wonder that the world of creation can inspire. To mark Stanfest’s 25th anniversary, he created a photo book aptly titled The Power of Song.
As Greencorn states early in the book, “The festival is a true testament to what is possible when individuals, passionate about their community work, collectively for change.” Greencorn, created his own passion project with the help of a collective. The group wanted to see Canso, Guysborough County, succeed, as the community had taken a turn from being a fishing village for generations to a village where people struggled to find a reason to stay.
In 1992, a Canso Seafood Festival helped shine a light on the community, its people, and its culture, but interest dwindled in its third year, and momentum was lost once again. In 1996, a delegate from the county met with a representative from the East Coast Music Awards to pitch ideas and the legacy of Stan Rogers was one of them. While he grew up in Ontario, Rogers had roots in Guysborough County and spent many summers jamming with anyone who could play and singing to anyone who would listen. In time, through song writing, Rogers deepened his roots and his legend blossomed.
Greencorn, alongside a community of photographers, sheds light on the effort it has taken to keep Canso in the spotlight and the ease in which it highlights local talent including musicians, volunteers, and how it enabled former fish plant workers to be employed again.
“There’s no question this is a Herculean community effort,” writes Greencorn explaining their intentions have made it feel like you live in the area and don’t volunteer, you’re missing out on something grand, and it becomes obvious that he’s right. The festival created the opportunity to involve any one who wanted to contribute. Volunteers were needed for everything from concessions to medical aid and Greencorn celebrates the story about how really working together made a difference.
Greencorn’s attention to detail as well as people is evident to participants like local talent Dave Gunning, who says, “I’ve observed and worked with Troy enough times now to more than appreciate his instincts as a presenter. We are lucky to have him in this part of the world.”
In the early years, with the festival getting musical acts lined up, some media attention, and the possibility of large crowds of people visiting the community, made housing the acts a major hurdle. Greencorn describes how quickly the entire community and province were eager to problem solve.
With names like JP Cormier, Bruce Guthro, Hunter Hayes, Cindy Church, Footworks, and so many more, the Stan Rogers Festival, known affectionately to many as Stanfest, grew into much more than a celebration of music but a celebration of pride of place. Greencorn tells the story of how the group of volunteers created a unique programming model, grouping performer line-ups that never happened before and are unlikely to happen again.
Just as you might miss out if you don’t volunteer, Greencorn has made it perfectly clear that you will miss out if you are not in the audience. It has become a family reunion that has been growing, developing, and bringing people closer every year.
While Stan Rogers was a music man and his legend lives on through instruments and lyrics, his legacy is clearly much more about family, community, and Nova Scotia. The laughter and music are heard long after the fiddle cases are closed; the magic thrives through the blades of grass that spring back to life to dance again and wait for bare feet and dancing toes.
The book introduces you to Nathan Rogers, Stan’s son who has graced the stages of Stanfest. He was only four when Stan passed away.
Through constant growth, Stanfest is a celebration of artistry, families, couples, and music. Hula hoops abound and clearly show the cycle of love, peace, and 25 years of family circling the lands of Canso. While capturing the spirit of such moments seems impossible to capture in a book, Greencorn and his team of photographers did it beautifully with The Power of Song.
Greencorn highlights the postive people behind the festival with pages dedicated to past visiting artists, board members, and its many volunteers. He takes the reader front-row-centre to relive the special moments of this festival if they once attended, and make readers who never went to Stanfest feel like they were there.
With as many names as there are faces, this photo book tells the story of how a once-struggling fishing community cast the net for a new legacy.