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Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival 2016 is a wrap!

6 days of ongoing live music & carnival fun can prove to be challenging but Fredericton met that challenge beautifully! Everyone involved in the delivery of this world class event is to be applauded for their efforts. HUGE appreciation for the 1000+ people who showed up to volunteer in various roles to ensure we all had a great time.

The level of talent presented over the past week was unreal! Some highlights for me were Justin Townes Earle, Lucas Nelson & POTRThe Sheepdogs, Robert Cray, MarchFourth!, Levon Helm’s Midnight Ramble Celebration, RevivalistsBlackie & the Rodeo Kings, Mike Zito & The Wheel, Brandon “Taz”Neiderauer and Shrimp Daddy & the Sharpshooters. And even with that list I’m left knowing I missed so much – with such an abundance of fantastic options  it is a real shame I couldn’t be in more than one place at a time.

What stands out for me the most, this year in particular, is the level of our homegrown talent. Big stage shows featured a lot of our own. Opening night saw Keith Hallett on the Playhouse stage on the bill with Justin Townes Earle. Wednesday night’s kickoff show at the Blues Tent with The Hypochondriacs. Ross Neilsen on the Blues Tent stage on the bill with Lucas Nelson. Matt Andersen and David Myles might be out there travelling the world but they are still from here. Hot Toddy returned to the Playhouse stage. Downtown Blues Band sold out the Blues Court tent for their 26th performance at Harvest. The Barracks stage had Stephen Lewis funkin’ up the tent and the Rising Star winners, CHIPS got the opening spot on that bill.

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The Hypochondriacs (photo by Rob Clement)
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Ross Neilsen (photo by Rob Clement)

Besides the big stages our local musicians could be found busking around town or playing the local pubs & clubs – Sugarbomb, The Rockin’ Billies, Toyko Valentine, Joyful Noise, Creative Differences, Maggie’s Farm Revival, David in the Dark, Shifty BitsHeat & Lights, Scotty & the StarsRosewood Groove and many many more! Such an amazing representation of our riches! I appreciate the Harvest organizers for ensuring there is room to showcase these super talented and entertaining musicians.

It is my opinion that the music scene here in Fredericton is alive & well and continues to thrive. It is a community of hardworking musicians developing their craft and supporting each other in many ways. I see Harvest as our annual opportunity to shine a light on that.

Tonight my body is tired from the late nights and many hours of standing/dancing. My voice is nearly gone from my efforts to sing along and show my appreciation to the musicians. Regardless of a little physical weariness, my spirit is filled up by the experience and I know I’m fortunate to be part of something I feel to be magical. I’ll take some time to rest and digest all that I have seen and heard over the last week and I’ll continue to look for ways to celebrate our local music scene all year long.  I hope you will join me!

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