St. Andrews is one of New Brunswick’s greatest treasures. The small seaside town is a beautiful spot to do anything, or absolutely nothing. It’s provided a retreat for artists, and it’s the first stop for tourists this side of the American border. So when it came time for this year’s annual Paddlefest, we sent down Cory Richardson with a camera.
The event is known to be a great kick-off to the summer season, featuring live art, and musical performances, and partnering with Maritime Daytripping, they also manage to include a number of outdoor activities, including kayaking, canoeing, hiking, and biking.
Organiser Luke MacDonald has been involved for a few years now, but the festival has a much longer history than that, “It’s a great event for the town, and New Brunswick as a whole. It’s almost twenty years old. It got started back in the 90’s, so it’s been around a long time. It’s started to shift gears, but it started as a very small community event; just a group of friends that started doing some kayaking, they would have bbqs and kitchen parties, and live music in their living rooms, and it evolved there over the years.” That means expanding to seaside pubs and local art galleries, a main stage in the town square, and even a canoe trip to nearby Ministers Island, and this year, a performance from Juno nominee Elliot Brood. “We’re a modest sized event but that’s the way we like it. It fits with the town because we like everything to have sort of a community feel and not get too overwhelming. We’re not about big crowds, or large lines, or expensive tickets. We just like have a relaxing weekend for everybody.”
Cory is known for his ability to get to the center of every party, his event photography, and a curious life spent in and around hammocks. If you’ve been to a festival in New Brunswick, you’ve likely seen him masterfully working a hula-hoop. Here’s what he sent us before disappearing into the party:
“Under a starry sky on a cool spring night, a huge tent glows in Kingsbrae Gardens. The Backyard Devils and Ryan LeBlanc have the dance floor warmed up and nearly everyone is on their feet in the party mood. It’s a small hometown crowd here on a Thursday night in St. Andrews, however the weekend is packed with activities to draw in people from around the province. The trick is being able to fit in everything you’ll want to do.
It’s now Saturday morning, and I’m waking up from tenting in a Juhl’s backyard. Sharon Murphy, who will be hosting a nature walk today, is sleeping in her camper van in the driveway. An in-town festival is a bit different than the camping festivals; we enjoy through the summer, but if you know people who live in town, there are kitchen parties and hot showers.
Saturday at noon, Juhl is hosting a local artisan market in the town square, which I’ll participate in offering free Hanging HUGS Hammock rides. I’ll have to leave that in good hands to go video Earthbound Trio playing an acoustic set on the bay in big canoes that hold 15 paddlers plus guides. That’s something you can’t see everyday. Hope you get the chance to come dance or play on water. You can’t do it all… but you can try.”
The following stream of consciousness arrived in the form of a photo album a few days later. Cory chose to let the photos speak for themselves.