Montreal·Absolutely Quebec

Festival brings big names to tiny community of Shigawake

A creative new documentary highlights music's ability to bring together isolated communities whose youth are reckoning with uncertain futures in the the Gaspé. Performances by Barr Brothers, Katie Moore, Blood & Glass and many others help capture the summer spirit of the peninsula.

Shigawake, The Movie is a documentary about a remote town that loves music

Montreal musician Brad Barr in Shigawake for its annual music festival. (Andi State)

For the past seven years, Montreal musical darlings The Barr Brothers have backed one of Canada's most remote music festivals, taking instruments, talent and carloads of musicians to the tip of the Gaspé peninsula.

Now a new documentary is about to blow the lid off one of Quebec's best-kept secrets as it introduces the rest of the country to the bucolic seaside town of Shigawake, 

Sarah Pagé rehearsing in Shigawake, in a still from the movie of the same name. (Andi State)
Director Andi State got to the heart of The Shigawake Fair and Music Festival by spending time with its founding family, the Hayes.

The Hayes and other local families have been participating in the fair for more than 100 years. They first came to the town after the Great Miramichi fires drove them from northern New Brunswick in October 1825.

Since granddaughter Meghan Clinton Hayes added a music stage to the fairground with partner Andrew Barr in 2009, the fair has been attracting more than the 338 local 'Shigawakers' each year.

Kayla Moran rehearsing in Shigawake, Quebec (Andi State)

State explores the history of the region through the Hayes' oral storytelling. She looks at the challenges and obstacles facing the predominantly agricultural economy, from the point of view of a small community of anglophones in a francophone region.

Shigawake, The Movie features performances by Marie-Pierre Arthur, Blood and Glass, Katie Moore, Sin and Swoon, Mike Feuerstack, L'il Andy, Clemville Kids and more.

It airs as part of the fifth season of Absolutely Quebec on Saturday, July 30, at 7 p.m. 

Watch Shigawake, The Movie here

Sin & Swoon are among the musical acts featured in Shigawake, The Movie. (Andi State)