Harvest Jazz and Blues brings art community together

Alicia Yvonne – The Aquinian

Fredericton gets ready for the big show

The Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival will return to downtown Fredericton for its nineteenth year this month filling the city with music, laughter and fun for all ages.

The festival, a highly-anticipated event in the city, has 23 venues offering a variety of musical performances that appeal to the young and the young at heart. Although certain performances do require purchasing a ticket, the festival offers student discounts, as well as several shows and venues that are completely free.

St. Thomas University student Sara Facey has been attending with her family every year for as long as she can remember. She says it’s always the highlight of her summer.

“Summer coming to an end is actually something I get excited for, because it means the festival is coming soon,” Facey said. “I always have tons of fun, so it’s something I really look forward to.”

UNB student Michael Richards also looks forward to the festival.

“I’ve only been living in Fredericton for a couple years, so I just found out about [the festival] when I moved here” he said. “I think that the atmosphere created by having such powerful and well known jazz and blues artists here in Fredericton is more than enough encouragement for any aspiring musicians to pick up their instruments and chase their dreams.”

Promoting aspiring young musicians is one of the goals of the Harvest Jazz and Blues festival.

This year, the festival is hosting CBC’s Galaxie Rising Star Showcase, a competition featuring five finalists: Sleepy Driver, Weak Size Fish, Becca DeHaan & the Love Me Three Times Band from Fredericton, Jens Jeppensen from New Denmark, and Babette Hayward from Quispamsis.

Hayward has been playing music since the age of nine. Now 19, she feels that simply being nominated for the Galaxie Rising Star is a great opportunity, with many possibilities to further her career in music.

“Fredericton is incredibly lucky to have a festival like Harvest Jazz,” Hayward said.

“It brings through a massive amount of talent, and that alone is a lot for young, local artists to look forward to. Fredericton is a very musical and creative community and I think Harvest is partly to thank for that. It is like an annual reminder to have live music constantly nourished. It plays a big part in how supportive the arts community is in Fredericton.”

The festival will kick off on Tuesday, September 15 and will feature The Joel Plaskett Emergency, Matt Minglewood, Hey Rosetta! and many more talented musicians.

A full schedule of events can be found online at www.harvestjazzandblues.com. More details can also be found through festival groups on both Facebook and Twitter.

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