It truly was a Sudbury Saturday Night. Except instead of playing bingo, the girls were at the Towne House Tavern, stompin' along to some of Tom Connors' most memorable tunes. The boys were there, too — and yes, some of them were getting stinko.
On March 9, Northern Life partnered with the Towne House to host a Memorial Stomp for Tom, in honour of Canadian music icon Stompin' Tom Connors. The folk-singing legend passed away March 6 at age 77.
To pay tribute to the man who put Sudbury on the map with his hit Sudbury Saturday Night, a lineup of local musicians volunteered to play some of his best tunes.
Don Kunto, who is a regular on the Towne House stage, said playing in honour of Tom was unlike most shows.
"For the first time I can think of in years in the Towne House, I was super nervous," he said. “It was like Grade 8 public speaking. I got all clammed up."
Kunto, along with Towne House manager Paul Loewenberg, country recording artist Barry Miles, Hugh Jazz's stand-up bass player Ben Mulligan and Sudbury's own Shaft Bottom Boys, all shared the stage to open the show with the classic Sudbury song. Kunto said it's a great "theme song" to be recognized for.
"The song is about having fun and working hard," Kunto said. "It's a phenomenal song for everyone to know us by."
No matter where he goes, people always seem to know that “We think no more of Inco, On a Sudbury Saturday Night."
"(People say) 'Oh your from Sudbury,' and you see their arms go up in that jig thing," Kunto said with a laugh.
When the eclectic mix of musicians launched into the chorus, just about everyone in the crowd did "that jig thing."
"I could not imagine a more fitting tribute to a man who personified the Canadian folk scene," said Michael Emond.
He was one of the 200 people inside the Towne House taking in the show.
"To pack the Town House with so many fans who sang and drank along to the amazing talent on stage. Singing Sudbury Sat Night on the stage it was written on for the people it was written for. It is a night I'll never forget."
Bob Rae, the interim leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, even stopped by to stomp since he was in town for his Northern tour.
"This is fantastic," he said. "It's a wonderful experience. I'm really glad I came."
Rae even accompanied the Shaft Bottom Boys on stage to play piano during their set.
The politician wasn't the only out-of-towner in the crowd. Other guests travelled from southern Ontario to be part of the excitement, coming from places like Toronto and Collingwood.
Others went to great lengths to rework their schedules in order to be at the show. Neil Haskett and his wife Tabitha were more than happy to postpone their fishing trip so they could stomp along with the rest of the Sudbury.
For those who weren't able to make it to the Towne House, Northern Life livestreamed the event. Watch the video to hear fans share their best Stompin' Tom memories and local musicians playing some of his most famous songs.
Northern Life would like to send out a big thank you to everyone who helped make the event a success, including the Towne House Tavern team, the musicians, and of course, the fans. Stomp on!