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Fred Penner replaces Neil Young at Greenbelt Harvest Picnic

Fred PennerUnlike Neil Young, at least the cat is coming back.

Fred Penner, the children's musician/TV personality, is set to fill in Young's two-hour set at the much-anticipated Greenbelt Harvest Picnic, according to a conversation we held with organizer Daniel Lanois earlier this afternoon.

"Penner may not be the most obvious choice," Lanois offered, leaning over the lacquered wood table of his favourite Hamilton haunt. "But he's hitting a new demographic for the picnic - nostalgic thirty-somethings."

Penner's biggest hit, "The cat came back", evokes fond thoughts amongst CBC viewers of the 80s and 90s children's show Fred Penner's Place, and Lanois is counting on this to recoup some of the costs following Young's decision to back out due to his guitarist's hand injury.

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"Fred is stoked about finding a new audience for his classic material. The Polka Dot Pony album (reissued as Poco) never reached its full potential, but I think now is the time for it to finally get the press it deserved. Don't forget, "Never smile at a crocodile" was a minor hit in the former Yugoslavia in '82. Rumour is Tito himself was a huge fan."

Rumour has it that performer Eric Nagler may be making a surprise visit. Lanois' response? "Let's just say there's a sewerphone with his name on it."

The festival tickets are going for $99. and according to the website:

Tickets available online at www.ticketmaster.ca, Ticketmaster outlets or by calling 1-855-985-5000

Picks and Sticks, 140 Locke Street South
Dr. Disc, 20 Wilson Street
Rock Express, 963 King Street East in Hamilton, Ontario

Tickets will also be available at Christie Lake on show day only (subject to availability).

Schedule & talent line-up subject to change.

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Music, Greenbelt Harvest Picnic, Fred Penner, Neil Young

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