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Full Circle Music Festival brings colour, sound, and community to Avondale area

Children play with a colourful rainbow at the Full Circle Music Festival in Newport Station on June 25, 2017.
Children play with a colourful rainbow at the Full Circle Music Festival in Newport Station on June 25, 2017.

Kids rush around a wide, green field chasing a bright parachute with every colour of the rainbow. Other children perform cartwheels, throw Frisbees or simply play, while their parents smile broadly.

There’s a vibe to the Full Circle Festival, which has wrapped up its seventh year – it’s like a big, hippie wedding, in the best possible way.

Roughly 300 guests gather inside the barn at the Newport Landing Heritage Society Museum to listen to musicians from across the province and the country belt out folk ballads and pluck away at acoustic guitars.

Many of the attendees camp out in tents a few hundred metres from the venue. The wide, brownish Avon River dominates the scenery.

Neil McBurney and Acoa McBurney, 4-months-old, enjoy their first time at Full Circle Music Festival. Neil said it’s a great festival for people of all ages.

Felicia Guitton, a resident of Halifax, came to the festival for the first time this year and said she was impressed by the community feeling.

“I just love seeing friends, a whole bunch of them are here right now,” Guitton said. “It’s a rare occasion where you can talk and hang out and there’s no rush. You flow in and you flow out, it’s just free.”

Guitton said she’s already planning to come back next year.

“I love the atmosphere of free play for kids,” she said. “And just being in nature, it’s very beautiful here.”

Mother Nature cooperative

Tacha Reed, the organizer of the vendor market for the festival, said she was grateful for the sunshine.

“Last year, we opened the vendor portion to the public and that’s been really popular this year as well,” Reed said. “We had a few people back out because of rain but Mother Nature was kind.”

Musical duo Katie and Karen perform at the Full Circle Music Festival on the final day.

Event goers were fortunate on the last day of the festival, June 25, with a bright sun and 27-degree weather.

“There’s a nice percentage of locals from West Hants and quite a few from Halifax and Wolfville and Chester, sort of within a 50-mile radius,” she said. “There’s a lot of returning families who come, which is nice because we get to see these kids grow up.”

Intimate event

The festival sold out once again, with 300 tickets gone prior to the festival’s start.

When asked if the festival would ever expand and sell more tickets, head organizer Louise Hanavan said she likes the intimate number.

Roslyn Tamula, 7, makes a necklace with John Downie, who creates handcrafted jewellery at the Full Circle Music Festival.

“We knew it had been selling out and the question was, ‘Do we want to grow bigger?’ But, so much of the feeling of this festival is that small connection between people,” Hanavan said. “It makes people comfortable to bring their kids and let them roam free. At a big festival, that’s not possible. A part of the beauty is that it’s small-scale.”

And it's working well, she said.

“It’s been so smooth, everyone from the community has pitched in and taken on different things,” Hanavan said. “We’ve had artists staying at people’s homes, taking care of sick artists.”

For the first time, an international performer, from Australia, joined the line-up.

“We also had a band from Avondale, so it was the whole gamut and everything in between,” she said.

You could almost say it was Full Circle.

John Muller, who performed at a previous Full Circle Festival, took some time to enjoy the beautiful weather with an epic jump into the Avon River. He said “it’s always a beautiful time.”

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