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Labour Day 2011 in Halifax is expected to be the city's largest

Blog posts reflect the views of their authors.

The Halifax-Dartmouth & District Labour Council is organizing the largest LABOUR DAY celebration that Halifax has seen in many decades for this year's 2011 event!

It is truly shaping up to be a fantastic event! A longer and more vibrant Labour Day March then in past years, followed by excellent speakers, a FREE BBQ, and a music concert.

There are several high-profile labour and political leaders who will be speaking on the day, including Canadian Labour Congress President Ken Georgetti.

I'm especially excited by one of the musical performances -- some of the musicians from the Tom Fun Orchestra will be performing songs from the Cape Breton Protest Songs Project, which has found archives of many old lyrics & poems (songs) from the 1920's and set them to music. Labour Day 2011 in Halifax will be the first public performance of these songs (a CD release is forthcoming over the next couple of months). This project is truly inspiring in many ways - it brings a tremendous working-class history from an important part of Cape Breton's militant past into the hands of an audience composed of new generations of workers. CBC Radio's "As It Happens" did an interview a few months ago with Professor Richard MacKinnon from Cape Breton University (CBU) about the project which is worth listening to and can be found at this link.

This project reminds me a great deal of the Mermaid Avenue two album project of previously unheard lyrics written by American folk singer Woody Guthrie which involved boxes of thousand sets of complete lyrics written by Guthrie between 1939 and 1967, none of which had any music other than a vague stylistic notation, but were put to music written and performed by British singer Billy Bragg and the American band Wilco.

In the same way, CBU's MacKinnon has unearthed about 120 songs (lyrics and poems) in the archives of an old newspaper called the Maritime Labour Herald which was published in Cape Breton between 1923 and 1927, and organized an assortment of talented Cape Breton musicians to set the lyrics to music and record them. I'm very excited to hear many of these songs performed on Labour Day by four of these Cape Breton musicians: Ian MacDougall, Albert Lionais, Shane O'Handley and Victor Tomiczek.

Following the Cape Breton Protest Songs, we will continue to be entertained in the afternoon by Joe Murphy & the Water Street Blues Band, who are old Labour Day favourites in Halifax, having played at Labour Day festivities for many years.

All this takes place on Monday September 5th!

10:30am -- Gather with Sisters & Brothers from unions & community organizations at the VICTORIA PARK (Spring Garden Road at South Park Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia). Map Link

*** PLEASE NOTE THE GATHERING LOCATION AT VICTORIA PARK! This will be the first year that the Labour Day March will begin at Victoria Park before moving to the South Commons Triangle — please ensure to advise union members, Locals & interested organizations/individuals of this change for this year!

11:00am -- Labour Day Parade March will start at VICTORIA PARK (Spring Garden Road and South Park St.) and marching to the South Commons Triangle, Bell Road, Halifax (bring your union's flag and/or banner!)

12:00pm to 3:00pm -- Labour Day Rally, Free Community BBQ Picnic & Music Concert at the South Commons Triangle with fun for the kids! Speeches including Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) President Ken Georgetti, Nova Scotia Federation of Labour President Rick Clarke, and Halifax Member of Parliament (MP) Megan Leslie as well as other special guest speakers.

The FREE Community BBQ will commence after the speakers at the same time as the MUSIC CONCERT that I mentioned above. Great times for the whole family!

More details can be found on the Labour Council's Facebook Event Page and their website, of course.

• Tony Tracy is the Atlantic Regional Representative for the Canadian Labour Congress. The above piece originated at http://blog.tonytracy.ca/?p=1

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