Veteran roots-rocker Matt Mays will be one of the headliners at the 2024 Pictou Lobster Carnival.

The July 5-7 event will also feature headliners The Blue Stones, Hello Darlins and Rum Ragged. Early bird and advance weekend passes for the beer garden

and main stage non-alcoholic access went on sale April 3 through the deCoste Centre for Arts and Creativity box office.

The Pictou Lobster Carnival began in 1934 as a local celebration that brought together fishermen and the community to celebrate the safe and successful end of the lobster fishing season on the Northumberland Strait.

To celebrate the significant milestone of 90 years of the carnival, many new and traditional events will be held. 

“In terms of the musical entertainment, we are bringing back the same approach as we had in 2023 with the early bird and advance tickets for the beer garden with the same promise as last year: Anyone with one of these advance sale beer garden weekend passes will be guaranteed access to the beer garden with their pass for all three days,” said carnival chairperson

Glen Jackson in a press release.

The Town of Pictou along with other local organizations, including the Pictou Lobster Carnival, have been working on a plan to bring back the waterfront site in a similar way to what was done for the Pictou 2023 celebrations last summer.

“One of the first features of that site will again be the Pictou Lobster Carnival, but the entire summer will be another great one for our community,” said Michelle Young, community development officer for the town.

Since departing seminal alt-country collective The Guthries in 2002, Mays has alternated between solo and band projects. Following the dissolution of Matt Mays & El Torpedo in 2009, Mays released Coyote in 2012 to much acclaim, including a Juno Award win for rock album of the year. Mays continues to

have a strong presence on rock radio, with his deep catalogue of hits.

“We are so excited to bring Matt Mays and his band to Pictou; it’s been something we’ve been hoping to make happen the last few years and this year everything aligned,” said Jackson.

In early 2021, Mays released From Burnside With Love, a live album showcasing unplugged versions of his most popular songs, along with a concert film of the same name.

Saturday’s headliner will be the up-and-coming Canadian blues-rockers The Blue Stones. Since bursting onto the scene with their acclaimed debut album Black Holes, The Blue Stones have delivered a crowd-thrilling live show that defies the laws of physics, generating a massive sound from its two members.

On their third album, Pretty Monster, which was a 2024 Juno nominee for rock album of the year, the duo fully captures the controlled chaos and combustible energy of their live set for the very first time.

Despite the growth they’ve experienced since getting their start playing dive bars in their small hometown, The Blue Stones instill every track with equal parts unchecked passion and a joyfully adventurous spirit.

“I know this band may not yet be familiar to everyone in Pictou County yet or may have only been known by their touring with The Glorious Sons last year, but The Blue Stones are a perfect fit for (the carnival),” Jackson added. “People will look back at this weekend in the future and be glad they saw them in Pictou.” 

On July 7, the beer garden and main stage will feature the Hello Darlins.

Making a name as the biggest breakthrough artist on the international Americana scene with their debut album Go By Feel, Canadian folk/country/roots collective The Hello Darlins have returned with an even more ambitious collection of material for 2024: a double album titled The

Alders & The Ashes.

The Hello Darlins and the band joined Matt Andersen for a 36-date, cross-Canada tour in 2023 that marked their formal introduction to audiences in their home country, while playing sold out shows in venues such as Massey Hall in Toronto and the National Arts Centre in Ottawa.

“As has become the approach the last number of years, Sunday will feature a second headliner in the ever-popular Newfoundland band Rum Ragged,” said Jackson.

Formed by Aaron Collis and Mark Manning, Rum Ragged takes a bold approach to the distinct folk music of their home, boasting bouzouki, fiddle, bodhran, banjo, guitar and button accordion.

“Our beer garden and main stage continues to be one of the best musical entertainment values in Nova Scotia with over a dozen acts for less than any other large line-ups in our region, and we can’t wait to share the entire entertainment lineup with everyone very soon,” added Jackson.

For more information or tickets, visit https://decostecentre.ca/.

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