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2nd Annual Music and Rib Festival Makes a Big Splash

Rock ‘N’ Ribs 2016 serves up music, ribs and relief for a community reeling from tragic fire.

(West Nipissing, ON – Monday July 25, 2016) Over 6000 people a-ended Rock ‘N’ Ribs 2016 at the picturesque West Nipissing Minnehaha Bay Marina on Saturday July 16th and all were treated to a World class musical lineup, food and fun!

The weather couldn’t have been more cooperative for the 2nd annual festival, with sunshine and 24C, considering heavy rain fell most of Friday and resumed Sunday evening. Rain or shine, however, nothing could have dampened the spirits of over 6000 attendees, from across Ontario, Quebec and beyond, following the tragic downtown fire on July 14 that destroyed half a dozen local businesses and displaced several individuals and families who lost their apartments and belongings.

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Despite the exhaustion from fighting the blaze over 2 days and right up to the morning of the festival, volunteer firefighters were on hand and all smiles as they volunteered their services to tend bar, offer first aid and entertain kids with the new fire truck. They even had a team, made up of Pascal Morin and Marcel Bergeron, competing in the local rib competition.

In all, 7 teams competed for a chance to hoist the Rock ‘N’ Ribs 2016 Local Ribber Trophy and they did not disappoint. In fact, the judging team, made up of 2015 RNR Winners Denis Allard & Guilles Tessier as well as Roger Guillemette, Pierre Lafond of Lafond’s Towing & Recovery, Horace Rhéaume and Sturgeon Falls native and UFC Bantamweight Mitch Gagnon, raved about the local submissions stating they could easily go head to head with the pros. In the end, winners had to be declared and 2016 honours went to 3rd place Big Nickel Auto BBQ Bros (Frank & Pierre St-Georges), 2nd place Second Hand Smoke (Swampthang Derrick O’Brien ) and 1st place Rib’d For Your Pleasure (Ryan Speck, Rob Kienapple, Peter Lajeunesse).

Those weren’t the only treats being served up as pro rib teams Sweet Smoke BBQ and Smokehouse Bandits served up their saucy ribs, chicken and pulled pork to a ravenous crowd. The lines started forming before noon and did not let up until shortly aher 10pm. The same for Dave and crew from Beavertails who ran out of product shortly aher 10pm and told us that in 11 years of owning his franchise he had never sold out. He added that this was by far one of the best festivals he’s ever attended citing the quality of the venue and attendees as the reasons. Local ice cream vendor Dino’s Dairy Bar also had a successful day, a much needed one given they were one of the businesses affected by the fire. Adding to the local flavour, nearly 30 vendors from West Nipissing and North Bay were on hand to show off their wares, services and provide information.

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The musical lineup on the main stage was solid from beginning to end. Performers Janie Pépin, Julie Ann Bertram, Justin Beauchamp, Taylor Kirkwood, Brain Flower, JW Stevens and Roadhouse, all local or with local ties, had people rocking, dancing and singing along all afternoon demonstrating incredible stage presence and calibre. Of course, fan favorite and unofficial Rock ‘N’ Ribs musical ambassador Carl Dixon and bandmates kicked it up a notch to start up the evening’s headline entertainment and had everyone in a feel good party mood by the time local country outlaw Cory Marquardt hit the stage and put on one of his best performances to date, even offering up a few rock covers including Sex Is On Fire and Holy Diver. By the time 4 time JUNO nominated Jonas & The Massive Attraction hit the stage, they delivered an arena sized rock show that simply blew the crowd away and earned them a whole lot of new fans.

Nipissing First Nation Little NHL announced their $10,000 fundraising draw winner at the festival. Congratulations Hector Alissapi of North Bay. Gold sponsor Goulard Building Supplies also held a draw for a brand new patio set. Congratulations to Jonathan Rivard!

Rock ‘N’ Ribs was also giving away some prizes this year, drawing from a ballot box set up at the main gate, and while the schedule on Saturday July 16th left no time to hold the draw live at the venue, a draw was held on Friday July 22nd via Facebook Live. The winner of the $1,000 cash prize is Heather Eyamie of Sturgeon Falls. The winners of the Sony SRS-X11 Bluetooth Speakers worth $80 each, generously donated by Joanne and Dan Vallière of Sturgeon Falls Stéréo Plus, are Anne Cameron of Owen Sound and Peter Gravel of Coquitlam, BC. 11 other winners will receive Rock ‘N’ Ribs swag.

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At the end of the day, the volunteer organized not-for-profit West Nipissing Rock ‘N’ Ribs Music and Rib Festival, along with Josée Éthier Aubin, will have deposited $4,000 for the victims of the fire of July 14th. Another $1,000 was donated to the West Nipissing Firefighters on behalf of Sweet Smoke BBQ and Smokehouse Bandits. In addition, Rock ‘N’ Ribs is also donating $4,000 to the West Nipissing Firefighters ($3,000 towards equipment/Christmas Toy Drive, $1,000 to host a volunteer appreciation supper) as well as $1,000 to Nipissing First Nation Little NHL. In total, Rock ‘N’ Ribs and friends will have given $10,000 back to the community and over $1,500 in cash and prizes.

Randy, Sue, Marc, Peggy, Jane and Jean François of the Rock ‘N’ Ribs organizing committee would like to thank their sponsors, volunteers, Vianny Morin and all of the firefighters and friends, vendors, artists, friends, fans, attendees and community for their continued support. We do what we do because of all of you!

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