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HANTSPORT, N.S. — Approximately 2,000-plus people attended the Hantsport Music Festival on July 21, which featured a long list of live entertainment, a pop-up farmers’ market and plenty of barbecue to eat.The festival, now in its fifth year, saw the celebration of two Hantsport High School class reunions — one from 1978, the other from 1988.

Kevin Guptell, a main organizer of the festival, was one of those celebrating his 40th class reunion.

Each year, an empty chair is set out to commemorate someone from the community.

For 2018, a memorial chair was put out specifically for Steve “Jake” Folker. He was from the class of 1978. The chair was decorated with photos and a t-shirt in memory of him.

Folker unexpectedly passed away one day before the festival in 2017.

With tears in his eyes, Guptell fondly told stories of him from their school days, as their friend Randy Carey read a poem written for Folker to kick off the event.

Guptell said Folker was a paraplegic but that didn’t stop him from doing what he wanted in life.

“He was very much inspirational to all of us in Hantsport that knew him. If he could do it we had too,” said Guptell in an email following the concert. “He also had a great sense of humour and managed to be a great ringleader whenever there was trouble to be had.”

RCMP Pipes, Drums, and Dancers performed early in the festival, marching in wearing red serge and unique tartans designed in 1997 for the 125th anniversary of the RCMP. The kilt was designed with the RCMP uniform in mind: it has the blue for the blue pants, yellow for the yellow stripe on the pants, red for the serge, green for the oak leaves on the cap badge, sienna brown for the buffalo also on the cap badge, a line of white to represent the lanyard worn, and a line of blue for the UN service that the RCMP have participated in over the decades.

Rain drenched some audience members later in the afternoon and the umbrellas and rain gear came out.

People set themselves up to stay as dry as possible and enjoy the festival no matter what the weather brought.

One after another, bands played and the crowds sang and danced along with them. Headliners included Heather Rankin and Signal Hill.

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