The Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival has been a staple of East Coast music for 24 years in Fredericton and is a must for anyone in the city in early September. I had the amazing opportunity of shooting for the festival last year, and was lucky enough that they brought me back for a second year!
Just being around the incredible buzz that surrounds the downtown of the city alone is something that you have to experience, but throw the musical talent and variety that they are able to put together year after year and you have the makings of an amazing week, that makes you start counting down the days until next year.
Everything downtown changes the week of Harvest, a short walk is all it takes to get an idea of how much the city loves this time of year. From businesses making custom displays and painting their windows, to the closure of Queen street and the many different vendors that set up shop for the weekend, there is a lot to take in.
Saturday is a great day, from kids to grandparents, there is something going on for everyone. Face painting and activities like the traveling drum circle help keep kids entertained as well as helping them learn and experience music first hand. Add in buskers, food trucks and free concerts and there's enough to keep you and your family occupied for the entire day.
Now to the main part of Harvest, the bands and the music! First off one of the coolest parts of Harvest is the variety of venues and how each of these stages has a completely different feel from the each other. From the main stage in the Blues Tent to the Playhouse and everything in between the one constant is great music can be found everywhere! And the artists that take these stages match the variety of the venues. Whether you want to be up front and centre to take in bands like The Arkells, Blues Travler and Gord Downie & the Sadies or experience a more relaxed atmosphere with the likes of David Myles, Buckwheat Zydeco and Samantha Fish, the spectrum of great music to experience is broad.
Bottom line, the Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival is something really special and should be experienced by everyone. So make sure you mark September 15th - 20th on your calanders next year and get your passes early!