TradNation Debut at Epcot’s Canada Pavilion

Entertainment in Epcot‘s World Showcase has gone through a tremendous evolution in recent years, and Canada’s Mill Stage has been an epicenter of that overhaul. It seems like only yesterday that we bid a sad farewell to Off Kilter, the long-running Celtic rock band, and welcomed (so to speak) the log-rolling Lumberjack show. Now the Lumberjacks are also long gone, and following a festive seasonal appearance by the Canadian Holiday Voyageurs, Epcot’s Canada pavilion has premiered another new act, which will fill the stage for at least the new few months. Even though they don’t even appear on park maps yet, we were at Epcot on January 15, 2016, to watch TradNation debut and capture their opening-day performance for you to enjoy at home.

TradNation debut epcot
TradNation has taken over Epcot’s Canada stage. (Photos/video by Seth Kubersky)

 

TradNation is an acoustic musical ensemble that plays Québécois folk songs with traditional orchestrations. That means a whole lot of fingerpicking, fiddlin’, flute playing, and French lyrics, with percussion provided by a spirited step-dancer’s clacking feet. Even if you aced your high school French class, you may struggle to understand the singers’ Acadian-accented patois, but the humble joy they take in sharing their musical heritage is infectious in any language.

Much like the similar Quickstep folk band in the U.K., the TradNation entertainers feel authentic to the point of lacking the polish and stage presence we usually associate with a Disney theme park show; we’re not looking for matching spangled outfits, but this group looks like they just rolled out of Tim Horton’s.

 

Here’s our full video of a TradNation debut day performance:

 

 

If you enjoy their show, stick around afterwards to speak with the TradNation performers; they’re more than happy to talk about their homeland and its culture.

 

TradNations is currently performing 7 times a day on Canada’s outdoor stage, with each set lasting about 20 minutes. TradNation debut day performances were at 12pm, 1:15pm, 2:15pm, 3:45pm, 4:45pm, 5:45pm, 6:45pm. That schedule is very likely to change; we’ll update it in Lines as soon as the times are officially released.

The current lineup of TradNation musicians are contracted to stay through March, after which time they will rotate with other members of the extended ensemble. The TradNation performances are expected to continue throughout 2016.

One final note: for the time being, all the benches in front of the Mill Stage have been removed. Until they are returned, you’ll need to arrive early enough to get a seat on the stone wall to the right side of the stage, or stand in the sun through the show.

 

Seth Kubersky

Author of The Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando. Co-author of The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland and Beyond Disney. Contributor to Unofficial Guides to WDW and Las Vegas. Live Active Cultures columnist for the Orlando Weekly. Travel and arts journalist. Theatrical director and producer.

7 thoughts on “TradNation Debut at Epcot’s Canada Pavilion

  • January 16, 2016 at 5:42 pm
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    Canadian talent in Canada? Finally.

  • January 17, 2016 at 7:32 pm
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    Hi! Slight correction, there is not an ounce of Acadian accent in there. Acadians hail from the Maritimes province, mainly New-Brunswick, and their patois is a heavy, yet delightful mix of old French and English.

    The accents heard on the videos are 100% from Québec, as any Canadian could tell from hearing only three seconds from any of their songs.

    And let’s just say I’ve seen more vibrant, enjoyable traditional French Canadian music groups before. Let’s hope the rest of the gang coming in March will bring a bit more pizzaz to the ensemble.

    • January 20, 2016 at 7:20 pm
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      That’s what I was wondering when I read the article: Are they Acadian or Quebecois? I’m not Canadian, can’t recognize the difference in French, but I thought these were 2 very different cultures.

      • January 20, 2016 at 7:30 pm
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        Thanks for the comments. My Acadian reference was an illiterative allusion to the fact that (as the lead fiddler says in the video) one of the songs they play is from there. The band itself is from Qeubec.

  • January 18, 2016 at 2:46 pm
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    As a Canadian, I find the musical choices in that pavilion to be a bit puzzling.

    Are the folk musical styles of the Maritime provinces or Quebec considered Canadian music?
    Absolutely.
    But, it’s not the most accurate representation of “Canadian Music” as a whole.

    Imagine if a band in the American Pavilion played ONLY Zydeco or Bluegrass music.
    Yes, those ARE American genres of music, but they’re regional genres, and although popular within their own region, in the entire country, they’re not THAT popular. It would be an odd choice, right?
    You’d probably think, “Bluegrass?” or “Zydeco? Is this what we want foreign visitors to think ‘American Music’ is? Aren’t there any more accurate representations of American Music as a whole?”

    In my opinion, they do it right in the UK pavilion – there’s a rock band, playing poplar UK rock music, as well as a small folk ensemble.

    • January 18, 2016 at 2:49 pm
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      The Canadian pavillion’s motif is during the fur trade. Modern Canadian music wouldn’t really fit in with that.

  • January 21, 2016 at 12:51 pm
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    Nice Tim Horton’s reference, Seth! I’m impressed!

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