Fest Forward spotlights up-and-coming Atlantic musicians

Danielle Doiron posing with a guitar. (Submitted: Danielle Doiron)

The Charlotte Street Arts Centre will act as the backdrop for this year’s Fest Forward, an annual music festival that runs from Oct. 14 to 16.

The festival offers a space for up-and-coming Atlantic Canadian artists to share their music and participate in professional development activities such as a photo shoot, video shoot and networking with other musicians.

Local artist Danielle Doiron will make her first appearance at Fest Forward, alongside her friend and guitarist, Ted Parrott.

Doiron moved to Fredericton a year and a half ago. She started doing open mics and was amazed at the supportive community the city offered.

“Fredericton is very supportive of the music scene here,” she said. “The city uplifts the musicians and I think that’s why there is such an amazing quality of music.”

Doiron is excited that Fest Forward focuses on up-and-coming musicians and gives them an opportunity in the spotlight.

She looks forward to hearing from other artists and participating in the professional development.

Ted and Danielle during a live performance to share their original songs. (Submitted: Danielle Doiron)

Ava Strange, performing with his band Ava Strange and the Gross Moths, believes the event is a chance for him to make more connections.

Fest Forward is also offering each artist the opportunity to participate in larger New Brunswick music festivals later this year, where Strange is eager to play his psychedelic-tinted music.

He describes the event as creating a “forward momentum” for artists in New Brunswick.

“All festivals are an opportunity for growth in different ways, but I would say the big difference with Fest Forward is that most festivals aren’t trying to prepare you for the industry,” he said.

Freya Milliken, a fourth-year student attending Acadia University in Wolfville N.S., will make the trip to participate in Fest Forward for the first time. Milliken spent this past summer performing at festivals and was even approached by a record label after an open mic.

“I think it was the busiest I’ve ever been performance-wise, which was really exciting because I got a taste of what it was like to be a full-time musician,” she said.

The singer-songwriter liked the community-oriented approach that Surkeus Records had and signed a deal with them shortly after. Milliken is looking forward to meeting the other artists at Fest Forward and building her skills amongst other music professionals.

“This is gonna be a really good chance for me to show who I am and what my music is like,” she said.