The show must go on: N.B. music festivals hope to return to the stage
SAINT JOHN, N.B. -- With relatively low recent COVID-19 case numbers across New Brunswick, and vaccination ramping up, some New Brunswickers may have the opportunity to see something rare these days: live music.
Last summer, many Maritime music festivals pivoted to online concerts. Now, some are planning a return to in-person performances, as early as next week.
St. Andrews is a typically quiet seaside tourist town in southern New Brunswick. But soon, the community will be turning up the volume.
“It’s always been a good kickoff to the town for the season, kicking into the summer season in St. Andrews. It’s obviously a busy time for the community,” says Luke MacDonald, artistic director of St. Andrews Paddlefest.
Paddlefest is planning on returning next week, after the longstanding four-day music and outdoor activity festival was cancelled last year because of COVID-19.
From May 20-23, about 20 artists will take the stage in St. Andrews.
“Probably about half of what we would have normally had, maybe forty or fifty artists throughout the weekend,” says MacDonald. “So scaled back quite a bit, but still supporting and showcasing a lot of local artists from around New Brunswick.
Fredericton’s Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival, or Saint John’s Area 506 festival, have not made any officials announcements when it comes to their plans for this summer.
“We are turning over every rock that we can to try to get live music back to New Brunswickers this summer,” says Ray Gracewood, founder and chairperson of Saint John’s Area 506 festival.
Gracewood says they’re now deep in the planning stages of what will hopefully see a return of in-person performances.
“My hope is in the coming weeks we’ll have some further clarity on some other factors, and it’s won’t be too long once we have a handle on what Area 506 could look like for the summer,” says Gracewood.
A second summer under a pandemic, and a hope that the show will go on for New Brunswick’s music festivals.