Harvest Fest Announces Gov't Mule, Big Sugar and more..

This snowy start to spring may be getting you down, but consider this: It's only 173 days until this year's Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival. That's September 10 - 15, in Fredericton, of course. And to get the excitement started, Harvest has begun rolling out the names that will be gracing the marquees this year. The festival likes to tease the public by releasing the names of the headliners and support acts over several weeks, instead of all in one big lump. I think it works well, because the rumour mill gets going, then the talk of the confirmed acts, and it keeps the festival on people's thoughts and lips for much of the spring, leading up to the start of ticket sales in May.

Govt-Mule.jpg
So, here's the first wave of acts: Gov't Mule, Big Sugar, Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk and Harper and Midwest Kind. Some familiar and very popular names there, for this festival crowd. Gov't Mule was here back in 2007, and are huge favourites at festivals all over. Led by Warren Haynes, what started out as has side project from The Allman Brothers is now 19 years old, and almost as big an institution. They can jam, yes, but they can also blow you away with inspired covers, including legendary sets recreating entire albums such as Who's Next and Houses Of The Holy.

Big Sugar is easily one of the most popular bands to ever come to Harvest, and live audiences can never get enough of the band. I think the last time I saw them, the main tent was as full as I have ever seen it, and as loud. Leader Gordie Johnson has deep ties to the Maritimes, and always gears up for shows here. The band just rocked the annual SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas, appearing on a bill with Peter Buck and Mike Mills of R.E.M., Alejandro Escovedo and more. Both these bands are playing the same night, and in a special, Harvest-only performance, Haynes and Johnson will team up for an early evening acoustic set before taking the stage with their respective groups. I anticipate some inter-band activity there as well.

Any Neville is of course, New Orleans royalty, and Ivan Neville is soaked in the family tradition. His group Dumpstaphunk is groove-crazy, and all about the party. They specialize in funk, and for this tour are including a tribute to Parliament-Funkadelic to end the set. And there's a debut for the Harvest as well, a blues group all the way from Australia, Harper and Midwest King. Peter Harper and his band mix up a lot of styles to come up with their international sound, a kind of world music blues. That includes some obvious Australian influences, since Harper digs out the didgeridoo, so that should be an interesting set.

Watch for more announcements in the weeks ahead, and for those tickets to go on sale May 11th.

more »

Latest East Coast Music Reviews

Young Novelists building bridges in New Brunswick
Young Novelists building bridges in New Brunswick
May 4, 2:41 PM

Check out the cover of the new album by The Young Novelists, and you'll find a familiar site for New Brunswickers. It's called Made Us Strangers, and features a drawing of a covered bridge against a plain yellow background. That's... more »

Music Review:  Floodland - It's The Fire
Music Review: Floodland - It's The Fire
May 2, 6:33 PM

Rising Halifax alt-rockers and Seahorse Tavern favourites, Floodland have amassed a pretty sizable discography this half-decade, with three full albums, and now this brand-new E.P. At five tracks and 23 minutes, there's lots here too, and it's certainly no in-between... more »

Alan Doyle getting along well with others in new band
Alan Doyle getting along well with others in new band
May 1, 2:10 PM

Alan Doyle is right where he belongs, on the road. It's where he's lived much of the year for a quarter-century now, whether fronting Great Big Sea to from sea to sea, or now building his own brand, introducing his... more »

Rich Aucoin one of the headliners at Sackville
Rich Aucoin one of the headliners at Sackville "Festival of Festivals"
Apr 30, 2:56 PM

Festivals. New Brunswick sure has a lot of them, and probably most provinces and states do. We have rock festivals, blues and jazz, bluegrass and country, gospel and classical. There are art festivals, literary festivals, fiddlehead festivals and chocolate festivals.... more »

PEI's Whitney Rose new country Heartbreaker
PEI's Whitney Rose new country Heartbreaker
Apr 29, 4:06 PM

P.E.I. country singer Whitney Rose made some very important friends back in 2013. She was picked as the opening act for a series of East Coast dates for the excellent U.S. band The Mavericks. Clearly, the singer made an impression... more »

MacMaster and Leahy finally team up on new joint album
MacMaster and Leahy finally team up on new joint album
Apr 28, 4:04 PM

Fiddle fans can be excused for thinking it would never happen. When Donnell Leahy of Ontario's famed Leahy family married Natalie MacMaster of Cape Breton in 2002, the natural assumption was that they would be making beautiful music together. As... more »

View all reviews for May 2015 »

About Bob Mersereau

Rockin' BobBob Mersereau has been covering music, and the East Coast Music Scene since 1985 for CBC. He's a veteran scene-maker at the ECMA's, knows where the best shows and right parties are happening, and more importantly, has survived to tell the tales. His weekly East Coast music column is heard on Shift on Radio 1 in New Brunswick each Wednesday at 4'45. He's also the author of two national best-selling books, The Top 100 Canadian Albums (2007) and The Top 100 Canadian Singles (2010).

Share this review