Using music to lend a helping hand

Local Fredericton musicians will cover their favourite bands at The Capital Complex as part of an annual tradition, the Christmas Cover Shows, on Dec. 20 and 22 from 8 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.

Emma Johnson, a third-year political science student at St. Thomas University will be performing a tribute to MF Doom under the moniker Arma Epifania.  

“The bar scene is very lucrative and people want to party around the holidays, so there’s no better way that you could be putting that money to use than to help people in the community, especially around this time because it’s a lot harder,” she said.

Johnson participated in the Christmas Cover Shows last year, but as a part of someone else’s project. This is the first year she’s had her own band and they already cover some MF Doom, so she thought she would sign up again and do a complete cover set.

“He’s the rapper that basically inspired me the most to start rapping … I know the most songs by him, and I know there’s not a huge amount of people who like MF Doom, but I know a couple people in Fredericton who are super pumped about it.”

The purpose of the Christmas Covers Shows is to raise money for local food banks, which often require extra donations during the holiday season to support families in need.

Zach Atkinson, the booking manager at the Capital Complex, said local musicians see the event as a holiday tradition.

“Local musicians see the charm in covering some of their favourite artists and doing it for a good cause around the holidays when people are coming home,” said Atkinson.

“It’s just become that tradition where for some people it kicks off the holiday season.”

The Capital has been hosting the Christmas Cover Show event for the past 15 years. Every dollar raised goes to the Greener Village Food Bank and people can get a discounted cover to the shows by bringing a non-perishable food item.

Atkinson said 15 to 18 artists play every year. Some are bands like The Hypochondriacs or David in the Dark and some are just groups of friends that want to get together to play music.

“It used to be one night, and the last three or four years we’ve built out three nights. This year, it’s going to be two jam-packed nights because we didn’t have quite enough to do three nights,” Atkinson said.

The event has become a favourite among artists who take most of the initiative in building each year’s line-up.

“It is really community driven. For the most part people come to us months in advance and then I just start making the list,” said Atkinson.

In previous years, local musicians have covered a diverse range of artists such as Justin Bieber, Mötley Crüe and Mac Demarco. This year’s line-up will be no different with tributes to Avril Lavigne, Coldplay and Joel Plaskett.

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