Quality Block Party: New Festival Announces Saint John Dates Opposite ECMAs

With the East Coast Music Awards coming into town – bringing in acts from all across the Maritimes, and people from across the county- it has the potential to draw attention away from some of New Brunswick’s most unique musical talents. This is where the Quality Block Party comes in to ensure that those visiting Saint John get the full experience.

Let’s face it. The ECMAs have a certain polish to them. They’re meant to be accessible, and radio-friendly, and as clean cut as David Myles. Aside from the aesthetics there’s also an expectation of being at a certain career point, or at least some level of industry involvement, and in an world that thrives on artistic outliers it means that ultimately a lot of people aren’t getting phone calls to hit up the main stage.

Thus enters Quality Block Party: the counter culture answer to the ECMAs. It’s meant to be a more inclusive and independent celebration of local music. There’s no shortage of talent on this side of the fence, far from it, just something a little outside the modus operandi of mainstream.

“I have a festival problem,” Says Peter Rowan who is the key organizer behind the event. He’s also launched festivals such as Halifax Pop Explosion, and Montreal POP, manages bands like Little You Little Me, Motherhood, and the drive unit behind the Greville Tapes Project. “I wanted to make sure bands I care about had good shows.”

“I think the ECMAs serve a valuable service, but not applicable to many/most artists. It’s sort of different aspects of same industry. It’s a big industry and while there are lots of aspects that cross; what works for most indy bands is not how ECMA’s model works. Same, but different.”

Quality Block Party are planning to flesh out their event similar to the larger conferences of the ECMAs with artist talks, free shows, all ages shows and art exhibits.

“Our goal is to be a Trojan Horse to ECMAs. We’re a gift to the ECMA’s.”

Rowan says it’s not a matter of having the festivals compete one another, but to compliment each other – apparently by subverting people with great music.

Performing artists:
Julie Doiron


Little You Little Me

Keith Hallett

Bad People


The Waking Night

Reagans Rayguns

Jane Blanchard

The Hypochondriacs

Owen Steel

Young Satan In Love

Beard Springsteen

Nerve Button

Right Shitty

Some Dads

Penny Blacks

Graeme Kennedy


ER and the Other


1995 Zellers

Also performances by The Galpines, The Squirts, Math Class, Butcher, Janowskii, and more.

Events will be held from April 26th to the 30th at Five and Dime, Elwoods Wood Lab, 36 Water Street, Taco Pica, and Yuk Yuk’s. Tickets and passes will be available at Backstreet Records  as of March 7th. For more information you can visit Quality Block Party on Facebook.