Throw on a scarf, lace up your boots and be prepared to warm up your ears with the fifth installment of the Shivering Songs music festival, this year with more stages and free music for your listening pleasure.
What began as an album release for Fredericton’s The Olympic Symphonium five years ago has transformed into a much-anticipated festival to brighten up the dead-of-winter blues.
“It’s bleak in January. Around here as soon as everyone goes back to work or leaves the city everything is at a stand still and that’s a hard transition to make,” said festival co-organizer, Brendan MaGee. “This is something to get excited for again especially with weather and temperature like this, it’s something to rally around. I think the community comes together and builds momentum for it.”
This year’s headliners include Buck 65, Owen Pallett, Amelia Curran, Bry Webb and Zeus. The songwriter and storyteller’s event on Saturday will be hosted by Buck 65, and will include Peter Broderick, and Scotia Bank Giller Prize winner Sean Michaels.
Though the festival has grown since its birth in Wilmot United Church, it’s also remained true to its roots, maintaining a small, intimate festival that offers something for everyone.
“If you want to listen to folk music in a quiet respective setting, or go out to the bar and see something a little different than usual, it’s great. It��s a side of Fredericton you haven’t necessarily seen,” said MaGee.
What has changed is the way the festival challenges itself, creating unusual spaces into live venues, even offering shows for those outside of the city.
“We are trying something new this year: satellite shows in Moncton at the Tide & Boar Gastro Pub, which is going to be interesting. We are trying to get as much music in New Brunswick as possible that weekend.”
The Urban Almanac store on York Street will be hosting a show Friday with Bry Webb and Gabrielle Papillon.
“We will keep exploring with new venues. There’s limited infrastructure, so experimenting with programming and venues themselves will continue to be challenging,” said MaGee.
Once again, festival passes are sold out, but Shivering Songs has added an extra free show, and there is still plenty to catch at the Capital Complex.
As for MaGee, he’s anticipating several festival performances, including Owen Pallett and Zeus.
“Owen Pallet was completely insane last time I saw him. He played the Kinsella auditorium at St. Thomas and I love seeing him live, he’s so focused and intense.”