Concerts to continue on Grand Manan Island this summer

Submitted photo Damaged Goods was one of the bands to perform at a Backyard Music concert in previous years. Graydon Brown is busy planning two concerts for this summer, with the possibility of a third.

GRAND MANAN – Graydon Brown started Backyard Music to bring the community together.

It started with burgers and hotdogs in Brown’s backyard on Grand Manan Island, growing from there to include singing and guitar playing, and, eventually, entire concerts.

Brown dug out an old drum set from his attic, forming a band to play at these concerts. A few years later, he began enlisting other bands to perform. Now, there’s a lineup of bands scheduled to perform at this year’s concerts.

Brown purchased a tractor trailer last year after five years of hosting concerts on his property. He built a 53-foot mobile stage in it so the concerts could move around the island to venues grander than his backyard.

“There was horrible rain last year, but still a lot of people,” said Brown.

Financially, he has been supporting the concerts on his own. This year, Grand Manan Tourism is providing sponsorship.

“I can afford a big tent with that,” said Brown, as he looks to prepare for the possibility of poor weather conditions again this year.

Brown currently has two concerts lined up for this summer with growing entertainment lineups, and a third with planning underway.

“Quite a few (bands) reached out to me this year,” he said.

Dark Harbour: The City is the first concert, scheduled for July 2, and will feature Cherry Dynamite, Damaged Goods, and The Jed and Moe Show.

Rockin’ the Bay Music Festival on July 29 and 30 will have performances from Stonehammer, No Name Road, Damaged Goods, Appetite 4, and Destruction, with more bands to be added.

Music isn’t all to look forward to at these concerts. In 2021, Brown rented a food truck to add a tasty element. The Rotary Club has since donated that food truck to Brown. It will set up shop at the concert venues.

Toward the end of the summer, Brown is planning to hold a benefit concert for a community member in need. At this moment, he hasn’t chosen someone.

“There’s always people dealing with health issues,” he said, noting he’s certain he won’t have to look far to find someone in need of the community’s support.

As someone living with Lyme disease, Brown understands the mental and physical toll of illness. Planning these concerts are his way of bringing together the community in which he was born and raised for some fun.

“Everybody now just wants to live life,” he said.

Last year’s benefit concert raised $6,500 for a member of the Grand Manan community living with multiple sclerosis.

He plans to have bands play from an anchored fishing boat, donated by Spitfire Fisheries, to the audience on shore.

“Some of the guys had talked about the idea before, but never made it happen,” said Brown.

This year, he’s determined to turn that vision into a reality, creating a unique concert experience on Grand Manan.

“Next year I can hopefully bring in a big name band … that’s the goal.”

heatherknight@stcroixcourier.ca