How to hit Harvest when you’re low on dough

The Hypochondriacs are a staple of the Harvest music scene (Photo by Caitlin Dutt)

Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival is a staple in the Fredericton music scene and a great introduction for incoming students to the arts and culture of the city. However, most of this year’s passes sold out before students could even unpack their bags. Fortunately, an increase in free programming to the festival’s 27th edition is bringing forth even more ways to partake in the festivities.

“The festival is all about being accessible,” said Amy Theriault, Harvest’s marketing and sponsorship manager.

With Harvest’s growing popularity leaving only a handful of Wednesday and Thursday passes up for grabs, the alternative stages, which embody 40 per cent of the festival’s programming, will provide salvation for those who missed out on larger ticket packages or are looking for cost-effective ways to enjoy the festival.

Side shows on side streets

Fredericton’s downtown core will be a hub for buskers, food trucks and free stages such as the Stingray Rising Star Competition. Four local acts will compete for a cash prize, as well as the opening slot in support of Paper Lions and Fredericton’s own David in The Dark in the Barracks tent later that evening. The Barracks, the only all-ages main stage, will also offer a discounted rate for anyone with a valid student ID for the duration of the festival.

“People who are shy to spend money on a ticket, come down and check out the free stages,” Theriault said.

“We have 12 different locations that are presenting talent throughout the whole week.”

Cadence at The Cap

The centre of low-key performances will be The Capital Complex, which will have six acts per night and late night entertainment.

Tickets for their stages start at just $10 with no advance tickets available — shows are first come, first serve. They will also host a barbecue on Saturday night in partnership with local Fredericton brewing company Graystone Brewing, with an extended line-up that will run from 1 p.m. until 2 a.m.

The Capital’s musical lineup includes East Coast Music Award-winning rockers The Motorleague and Fredericton locals Cellarghost, along with The Crossroad Devils and The Tortoise, The Hare and The Millionaire. Halifax’s Sleepless Nights and Weak Size Fish, a New Brunswick group, will also be performing live for the first time after extended hiatuses for both bands.

Pub performances

While the The Capital Complex is the main hub for these alternative stages, it’s certainly not the only one according to Zach Atkinson, booking agent for the venue.

“Everyone’s going to have music over the weekend … that you don’t need a ticket or a pass to go see,” he said.

Some of the other pubs and clubs supporting Harvest include Snooty Fox, King Street Ale House and Dolan’s Pub and Eatery. A full listing of all alternative venues is available in the Pub’s and Club’s section of the festival’s schedule.

Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival will take place from Sept. 12-17 in downtown Fredericton. For more information and the full schedule visit their website or their festival office at 81 Regent Street.