Cafes, microbreweries, homes, and restaurants seem like places we go to complete work, visit with our friends, grab some grub and catch up on some reading — but for the Living Roots Musical Festival Fredericton transformed its smaller spaces into listening rooms.
What is a listening room? To keep it short and sweet, it’s an intimate space where people can go to listen to artists perform their craft. The feeling of being in one of those rooms is unlike any other: the audience can be packed into a small room, kicking up their feet to the grit and country that their grandparents listened to as children, or they can be sitting in a quiet café while listening intently to a musician tell their story through piercing lyrics and lilting melodies. The experience can be different depending on the location of the venue, the size of the crowd, the time of day, or the style of the musician(s), but every show had two things in common last weekend: the audience enjoyed themselves and the musicianship was unlike anything you’ve heard of before in Fredericton, NB.
The Living Roots Music Festival spanned three days, was held in seven cozy local venues, and showcased twenty seven different artists from Fredericton, NB and across the Maritimes. As an event it embodied the Maritime culture that we hold so dear to our hearts: kitchen parties, small gatherings, good food, better beverages, and great company.
Eddie Young came up with the idea to run the festival early in the New Year, “I’ve been booking shows for two years now. I started out in my home and then I booked for other venues, and it turned into mainly booking at Ringo’s. I then started booking at Grimross Brewery and moved most of my shows up there. This Festival stemmed from there; I made projections through booking those smaller shows at smaller venues, meeting bands from the local area and across Canada, and a few from the US, and then envisioned them coming here, to Fredericton.”
That vision became a reality this past weekend and it really was everything that Eddie thought it would be.
Intimate spaces helped to breed close relationships between the artists and the audience, separating them by the sheer volume of talent being shown by those who have spent years perfecting their craft. The showcasing of local musicians, artists, songwriters, and poets brought roots and folk music to light in the Fredericton area this weekend, with a little bit of folk-esque-rock thrown in. From local poets like Maisie McNaughton, to well-known Fredericton favourites Richie Young, Calum Jackson, Keegan Dobbylsteen, Hum & Hollow, and Panda Bee Catastrophee, to notable artists from the East Coast such as Dylan Menzie (PEI), The Barrowdowns (Halifax), Roxanne Potvin (Montreal), Eastcoast Love Story (Moncton), and The BackYard Devils (Moncton), there was something for everyone.
From attending packed shows at SameAsForever and the Heartbreak Hotel, to the listening room style of the Cinnamon Café and Grimross Brewing Co., to Ringo’s Bar & Grill, where one can dine and listen to music simultaneously, to local dancing spots like Klub Khrome, and finally to the finale show at the Wilser’s Room, there was no shortage on diversity in the attendees’ experience of the shows.
The feeling of comradery, the love of music, and the appreciation of the hard work and dedication of others was felt throughout Fredericton, and none could have shouted the love song of the Living Roots Music Festival at the top of their lungs louder than the organizer himself.
During the last ten minutes of the Finale Show at the Wilser’s Room, clamours and exclamations of ‘I love you, Eddie’ and ‘Cheers to Eddie Young’ could barely be silenced as Eddie gave the closing speech to the crowd, bringing all of the artists and volunteers who were present at the show up on stage. “It’s thanks to all of these fantastic volunteers, artists, poets, musicians, and venues, that the Festival could take place,” Eddie shouted. “The inspiration came from them, and this Festival is our love song to the local artists who make up the music scene in Fredericton and our surrounding neighbours in the Maritimes. I love all of you so much and I hope to see you all back at the Festival next year.”
Right back at you, Eddie, and we look forward to seeing what the Living Roots Music Festival will bring to Fredericton next year.