Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Harvest Jazz & Blues festival couldn’t hold large in-person celebrations this year. But the pandemic didn’t stop festival organizers from keeping Frederictonians entertained.
Brent Staeben, programming director for Harvest, said they held a virtual event through their Facebook page on Sept. 19. Artists submitted videos to the organizers, which were later combined into a single show.
“We hoped people would have viewing parties at home to celebrate Harvest, and based on our social media response, I think we achieved that,” said Staeben.
Viewing parties took place at popular downtown nightspots like Klub Khrome, The Cap and Dolan’s Pub. Concertgoers gathered at physically distanced tables to watch shows through projectors.
Performances included music from Chicago-based Fruitland Jackson and Fredericton-based Jenn Russell. The event also featured archival footage from past festivals, including a performance from Mavis Staples in 2018.
Leading up to Sept. 19, Harvest sponsored several in-person performances at the Charlotte Street Arts Centre and the Tribute Bar & Lounge. Those shows included acts like Montgomery Street Band, Womb to Tomb and Theresa Malenfant with Scott Medford.
Staeben said organizers would be “playing it by ear” over the next few months to understand the type of festival they can put on next year. Still, he said crews set “modest goals” and were pleased to achieve and exceed them in some ways.
“We wanted to see a group of people come out to experience live music in the downtown [area] and [support] our downtown bars and restaurants,” Staeben said.
Video taken by Shannon Nickerson/AQ.