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Juno winners The Washboard Union to headline at Heritage Music Festival

May 2, 2019   ·   0 Comments


The Heritage Music Festival (HMF) committee is thrilled to announce that Juno winning Breakthrough Group of the Year and Canadian Country Music Association Group of the Year, The Washboard Union, will be the headliners for 2019 Festival and 69th Canadian Open Old Time Fiddle Championship. 

Led by step-brothers Aaron Grain and Chris Duncombe and their friend David John Roberts, The Washboard Union share an “innate love for the art of songwriting and storytelling” and are one of the most talked about bands in Country music. They have performed to audiences from North America to Europe.

“The HMF committee is so excited about this year’s festival and the amazing bands we have lined up,” says HMF Chair Bobbi Ferguson. “The excitement from the community as to ‘who our headliner would be’ has been tremendous.” 

She added, “Last year’s Fiddle Championship saw an increase in contestants of more than 200 percent over recent years and 2019’s contest is looking promising as well, with a number of new contestants already signed up. We are working with the parade committee to potentially expand our offerings out at Fiddle Park with Bands and Brews, so stay tuned.”

The Heritage Music Festival, featuring the Canadian Open Old Time Fiddle Championship, will take place Wednesday, August 7 to Sunday, August 11 in Shelburne. Sponsored by the Rotary Club of Shelburne, the festival will feature a variety of entertainers and events, including: The Washboard Union with Midland all-girl band Sweetfire; Chris Ayries and Thomas Wade in Country Superstars Live in Concert; as well as Canada’s top fiddlers in competition for thousands of dollars in prizes. 

Community events include: camping; local Bands and Brews at Fiddle Park after the fiddle parade on Saturday; and a non-denominational church service at the arena, followed by a Pork BBQ next door at the Agricultural Fair Grounds, closing out the events on Sunday.

The Washboard Union’s Aaron Grain and Chris Duncombe, grew up in Kelowna, but met David John Roberts when they moved to Vancouver and ended up renting in the same building.  The three began writing and singing together. 

According to the group, “These early sessions were the bones of what would eventually become The Washboard Union. Grain provided guitar and vocals, and Duncombe added his own voice and a banjo, while Roberts, a singer and multi-instrumentalist joined with harmonica, guitar, mandolin and the washboard to become ‘the team’s secret weapon.’”

The band just wrapped up a tour with Nashville superstars and festival dates “coast to coast.” Certified Gold in Canada, The Washboard Union has had several top 10 hits and numerous top 20 hits in Canada. 

As one of the  busiest bands touring in Canada, Bobbi Ferguson told the Free Press that the musical group has shared the stage with big names such as “Old Dominion, Keith Urban, Reba McEntire, Dwight Yoakam, Jason Aldean, Zac Brown Band, Thomas Rhett, Lonestar, and more.” The Washboard Union will take the stage at the Heritage Music Festival on August 9th at 7:30 pm, along with Sweetfire, a young, all-girl band from the Midland area. 

The night before, Thursday, August 8th, Shelburne audiences attending the Music Festival will see Chris Ayries and Thomas Wade perform Country Superstars Live in Concert. These two Ontario music artists perform many of Country Music’s most famous duos such as George & Tammy, Johnny & June, Tim & Faith, and Kenny & Dolly to name a few. They also celebrate the music of Merle Haggard, Martina McBride, Johnny Cash, Trisha Yearwood, and others. 

Opening the festivities on Wednesday night will be the ever popular Country Jamboree and Barn Dance featuring local musicians at the Centre Dufferin Recreation Complex.

The Canadian Open Old Time Fiddle Championship starts with the playdowns on Saturday, August 10th at 10:00 am at the Centre Dufferin Recreation Complex with the young and the young at heart: 9 & Under, 10 to 12 years, and 56 years and over classes; followed by the remaining age classes, Gospel, Group, Novelty, Bluegrass, and the Open Class. 

The Championship will culminate on Saturday, August 10th at 6:30 p.m. and will feature the crowning of the Canadian Open Champion and Canadian Open Junior Champion. Entertainment will be provided by Canadian Open Old Time Fiddle Champion Scott Woods and his band. 

As has been the tradition for the last 69 years, proceeds from the Fiddle Championship and now the Heritage Music Festival, support Shelburne Rotary Club’s many charitable projects. Some of their good work includes contritubtions to the Music and Memory Program at Dufferin Oaks Home for Seniors, BMX track at Greenwood Park in Shelburne, the digital imaging department at the Headwaters Health Care Centre, breakfast clubs at local elementary schools, Shelburne Girl Guides and Boy Scouts, a variety of minor sports, including hockey, baseball, gymnastics, lacrosse, and figure skating, Dufferin County Meals on Wheels, Hospice Dufferin, Shepherd’s Cupboard Food Bank, PolioPlus – a program to eradicate polio worldwide – and many more.

Weekend passes for the Heritage Music Festival are now on sale for $80. This price includes the Country Jamboree, Country Superstars in Concert, The Washboard Union, Fiddle Playdowns, Bands and Brews, Fiddle Championship. Individual events are priced as follows:

Country Jamboree on Wed. Aug. 7 at 7:00 pm: $7 at the door only

Country Superstars in Concert on Thurs. Aug. 8 at 7:30 pm: Adults: $25/Youth: (12 Years and Under) $10

The Washboard Union on Fri. Aug. 9 at 7:30 pm: $45

Competition Playdowns on Sat. Aug. 10 at 10:00 am: entrance by donation

Bands & Brews Fiddle Park on Sat. Aug. 10, at 2:30 pm: entrance by donation

Fiddle Championship Sat. Aug. 10 at 6:30 pm: Adults: $25/Youth: (12 Years and Under)/ Family: $75 (two adults and children 18 Years and Under) 

     For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit or phone 519-278-0016. Tickets may also be purchased in person at Pazazz located at 122 Owen Sound Street in Shelburne.



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