It is the early days of Spring. The ground has thawed, the birds have begun their persistent mating chortle, and likewise Maritimers have desperately adopted their summer plumage irrespective of the actual temperature. It is also the season of festival announcements; that great heralding of the days to come in which we shall crowd ourselves into tents, bars, and open fields to bathe in a sea of soundwaves and sloshed beer, our senses embracing a microcosm of experiences much as our faces embrace the warm, sticky shoulders of the stranger ahead of us. And so, like the first blossoms of Spring, Fredericton’s Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival have brought tidings of the season to come, teasing us with their line-up.
New to the festival will be Drive-By Truckers of Athens, Georgia, who NPR called “as tough and grand on any given night as the best live rock band you’ve ever seen”, and thirteen year old guitar prodigy Brandon “Taz” Niederauer. There will also be blues legend Robert Cray, Champion and his band, G-Strings, rootsy rockers The Revivalists, and MarchFourth! who look to be a twenty-member funky marching band spectacle, Halifax’s The Mellotones, three-time Grammy Award winner Dee Dee Bridgewater, saxophonist Phil Dwyer, Juno nominees Plants and Animals, three-time Polaris Prize nominees The Besnard Lakes, and New Orleans pedal steel act RumpelSTEELskin, rounding out the line-up along with previously announced headliners Stars, and Metric, and that’s just Saturday night.
Completing the line-up for the rest of the weekend will be local favourites Classified & David Myles, Wintersleep, Matt Andersen & The Bona Fide, Hot Toddy, Stephen Lewis & After Funk, Glamour Puss, Ross Neilsen, Vogue Dots, Erin Costelo, Downtown Blues Band, Theresa Malenfant & The Instigators, Matchstick Mike & The Chain Smoking Altar Boys, The Alex Bailey Swing Band, Roxy & The Underground Soul Sound, Earthbound Trio, Amanda Jackson Band and SG & The Tone King, as well as The Sheepdogs, Levon Helm’s Midnight Ramble Celebration, Justin Townes Earle, Blackberry Smoke Blackie & The Rodeo Kings, Mike Zito & the Wheel, Busty and the Bass, and Laurent Couturier & The Rusty Mikes.
This year Harvest Jazz have also announced an additional venue, swamping the Hoodoo House on King Street for a new venue adjacent to the Provincial Justice Building, suitably named The Blues Court, and will feature will feature Shrimp Daddy & The Sharpshooters, The Christine Campbell Band, The Mark Green Band and The Keith Hallett Band.
“Harvest is always looking for ways to improve the musical experience for festival goers,” said Staeben. “The Blues Court will be centrally located so that even more of our patrons can sample some of the best names in Maritime electric blues.”
The big new is that ticket prices will also be down this year. “Harvest is kicking off Year twenty-six by expanding our offerings to even wider audiences, lowering our ticket prices and once again affirming ourselves as Eastern Canada’s premiere musical experience,” said Brent Staeben, Harvest’s Music Programmer. “This is our most impressive line-up to date and we’re thrilled to present this incredible array of national and international headline acts, which positions New Brunswick as a major destination event on the North American festival circuit.”
For more information visit www.harvestjazzandblues.com