The four finalists in the Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival’s 2016 Stingray Rising Star competition varied widely in musically genres, but it was Fredericton based punk rock band CHIPS who emerged the laureled champions.
The award, sponsored by Harvest Jazz & Blues and Stingray Music, is given to an up-and-coming New Brunswick act following a showcase competition judged by industry experts and an online vote.
In addition to CHIPS, nominees for the award included country singer Kenny James from Sackville, DancePunk band Math Class from Saint John and Fredericton rockers Tortue.
The Rising Star Showcase took place September 16th as part of the festival, with each band’s performance being judged on talent, originality and stage presence by a panel of music industry experts. A pre-event online voting campaign, in addition to votes taken at the showcase, made up 50% of the score.
CHIPS came out on top, taking home the $2000 prize and the chance to open for Stephen Lewis & After Funk at Friday’s show in the Stingray Barracks Tent.
The band say they are understandably stoked about winning the award. CHIPS bass player Lance McNeill says, “Fredericton and the Maritimes in general, is filled with such an extraordinary music scene, with great bands, musicians, and artists- so to even be considered for this award was incredible, but actually winning was a dream come true for us. We are fans of previous winners so to be included in the conversation with them is an absolute honour”.
As far as their competition goes, McNeill says that backstage was a very positive environment, “Everyone was really supportive of one another. Even though it was a competition, nobody treated it like that. It seemed like every band was just happy to get out on that stage and play their songs for everyone who came out. I think it is important for different sounds to be showcased at an event like this. Despite the name, Harvest Jazz and Blues is not exclusive to one specific genre of music. This showcase encompassed that mentality, and I think every one of those bands were a great fit for that stage”.
As Rising Star Award winners, CHIPS is in some very good company. Previous award winners include Ross Neilsen, Keith Hallett, Andy Brown and Matt Andersen. As for what the band plans to do with their $2000 winnings, they’re not certain yet, “Honestly, we didn’t even discuss it beforehand. We didn’t anticipate that we would win, so now I guess we’ll have to figure it out. We’ll finish up paying for our EP which we just released but other than that, we’re not really sure how to use this money“. We’re sure you’ll find something, boys.