Shivering Songs: Supporting local during COVID-19

The Alan Jeffries Band, seen in this file photo, performs at the 2019 Shivering Songs Festival. (Submitted: Kyle Albright)

The anticipated Shivering Songs festival was postponed after Fredericton went into the red phase on Jan. 20, but coordinators said the show will continue at a later date.

“We have all the artists ready to go. We’re just trying to figure out what days we can actually operate on,” said Zach Atkinson, coordinator of the event. “The goal is to be in person, host concerts in person for reduced capacities, but also stream those concerts for people at home.” 

Shivering Songs has been an annual event for the Fredericton region since 2010 and is self-defined as a “community-driven festival,” using a number of venues throughout downtown Fredericton.

This year, the festival put a heavy focus on supporting Fredericton’s local artists and venues and assisting small businesses who are struggling because of COVID-19. Homecoming 2.0 is this year’s festival’s theme.

Shivering Songs coordinator Zach Atkinson said the festival put a heavy focus on supporting local artists, venues and small businesses struggling because of COVID-19. (Submitted: Zach Atkinson)

“The idea of home Homecoming 2.0 [was] trying to do as much as we can with in-person audiences because we do want to help encourage people to take in a restaurant before they go to [a] performance, or to be downtown,” said Atkinson.

Shivering Songs is taking the term “local” seriously, going so far as to only inviting artists from Zone 3, the Fredericton region. 

“We’ve only booked artists that are in Zone 3 so that we don’t run into a situation where if we were to get back to yellow … but then they go back to orange or red, well, then that artist can’t travel,” said Atkinson. “It’s very hyperlocal this year.”

Though the festival has in the past been defined as a folk music festival, it now sees a variety of different talents and performers. This year, that variety includes St. Thomas University graduate and local comedian Anthony Bryan. 

Comedian and St. Thomas University graduate Anthony Bryan, seen in this file photo, hopes Shivering Songs can take place in February. (Jerry-Faye Flatt/AQ)

Bryan has done work with NotaBle Acts and the Hot Garbage Players, as well as regular open-mic comedy nights at The Cap. He said while everyone had hoped for the rare chance to perform live during COVID-19, there was always the lingering understanding of how quickly things could change.

“Announcements were coming out. There were briefings every day and eventually, it was almost like everybody knew at the same time that it might get cancelled,” said Bryan.

Shivering Songs was originally scheduled for the weekend of Jan. 20 to 24. Though the original date was cancelled, Atkinson said he hopes the festival can take place as originally planned in February once the city shifts back into the yellow phase.

“The idea of postponing is that we can still do [have live performances],” said Atkinson. “It will be an adaptive year where we are waiting to see if there’s any potential for yellow. If there is, we’re ready to launch into throwing the event.”