Festivals big and small are celebrating a return to ‘normal’ in-person events
For festival organizers, the past two years have been a series of inevitable disappointments, but 2022 is shaping up to be the rebound they’ve been hoping for.
Ciaron Lewis, organizer of the NB Punk Fest taking place July 1-2 in Fredericton, said he’s starting to feel like the punk music festivals he loves have “been abandoned.”
The pandemic has led to venue closures and the cancellation of a highly anticipated tour by Canadian punk band legends Dayglo Abortions and Citizen Rage.
“You could just feel the disappointment from the stage after so many years of canceled festivals and canceled concerts, so I took it upon myself…and said, ‘Let’s make lemonade here, and put on a show with you. guys. “”
With the return to a new “normal”, the bands will headline what has turned into a two-day event with three shows, including an all-ages show that Lewis hopes will bring in new fans who hadn’t no way to connect with the scene during the pandemic.
“It’s important…that you have these opportunities for the younger generation to come in and be able to see shows in safe spaces. And encourage the younger generation to maybe pick up a guitar or bass or drums and create their own band. “
Living Roots festival returns to ‘normal’
In 2021, the Living Roots Music Festival had three stages around Fredericton with approximately 15 acts.
Organizer Eddie Young said it wasn’t bad, but he’s looking forward to “a normal year” in 2022, with 11 stages and more than 60 acts.
The festival takes place from June 2 to 5 and, for the first time since the start of the pandemic, will bring together artists from all over the world.
“I’m really excited,” Young said. “We’re able to bring artists on tour again, so we have people from across Canada and a few international artists coming in as well.”
Like the NB Punk Fest, the Living Roots Music Festival will host bands that have canceled two years in a row. Young people look forward to welcoming Winnipeg’s Apollo Suns, a seven-piece instrumental jamming band.
“It’s kind of been three years of preparation for these guys to come.”
Young is also delighted to welcome musician Anna Smirk from Australia to the province. For him, a big part of what the festival does is feature artists in multiple shows over multiple days, which builds lasting relationships — something that has suffered during COVID.
“You’ll have multiple opportunities to see some of the acts over the four days — it’s a big part of the festival to have the acts in town for a few days to get to know Fredericton and connect with artists and fans.”
Judging from ticket sales and online reviews, Young is confident people are ready to return to the live, in-person shows.
Festivals celebrate art, music and disco rides
The end of the restrictions also allows the Inspire Festival to come back strong, organizer Lisa Griffin said.
This year, the public arts festival, which is known for its murals, is traveling to communities across the province, including Woodstock.
Between Tuesday and Sunday, artists will paint permanent contemporary murals in the city and hold some of its “flagship events” such as a disco bike ride, artist talks and a film screening. Everything is done in partnership with the Door Arts Festival.
“We do everything we can to involve the local community as much as possible — what actually happens with the vibe is up to the community,” Griffin said.
“Coming out of COVID – out of this liminal cocooning and time and space – we hope to engage these little festivals as much as possible and help nurture and inspire them.”
Katie Hamill shares these goals of connection and inspiration.
As organizer of the Flourish Festival, taking place in Fredericton June 15-19, she looks forward to giving artists from all disciplines the opportunity to showcase their work.
Hamill describes Flourish as “a do-it-yourself festival” in every way with attendees expected from across Canada and the United States.
“This year we’re looking to make it even bigger,” she said. “A lot of installation art will be little pop-ups in unexpected places, so even if you’re not aware of the festival, you might see something that’s part of the festival.”
Flourish is also offering local residents the chance to house visiting artists in exchange for a free pass, which she sees as a chance to reconnect after a long pandemic drought.
“It could be a band or maybe an artist presenting an installation and looking for a sidekick to hang out with during the festival.”