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

Tomato/Tomato top the awards nominations for Music NB
Tomato/Tomato top the awards nominations for Music NB
Sep 21, 1:15 PM

Saint John folk duo Tomato/Tomato lead the way in this year's nominations for Music New Brunswick awards. The husband-and-wife team has grabbed six nominations, including those for Album of the Year, Group Recording of the Year and Song of the... more »

 Hot Toddy reunion a Harvest highlight
Hot Toddy reunion a Harvest highlight
Sep 20, 6:05 PM

On stage at Fredericton's Playhouse on Saturday, the members of Hot Toddy had more to share than just music. Bass player Tom Easley had brought along a band tour journal that had been kept in the van from 2001-2003, full... more »

Samantha Martin brings exciting blues-gospel vocals to Harvest Fest
Samantha Martin brings exciting blues-gospel vocals to Harvest Fest
Sep 18, 3:58 PM

The Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival is well-known for introducing new, exciting acts to the East Coast that wouldn't normally tour in this area.  They might be from Los Angeles or New Orleans, or some of the best Canadian groups... more »

Steve Hill brings Juno-winning, one-man band to Harvest
Steve Hill brings Juno-winning, one-man band to Harvest
Sep 17, 3:58 PM

As the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival celebrates its 25th year, several favourite acts from the past have been invited back, including some that haven't been around for quite awhile. Even though he lives in Montreal, this year's Juno Award-winning... more »

EARTHBOUND TRIO launches new album at Harvest gig
EARTHBOUND TRIO launches new album at Harvest gig
Sep 16, 3:51 PM

How busy is Fredericton during Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival week? It's delaying some Federal government work, that's how busy. A friend of mine, a government employee from another city, e-mailed me a couple of weeks ago to say she... more »

Amy Helm continuing Dad Levon's legacy at Harvest fest
Amy Helm continuing Dad Levon's legacy at Harvest fest
Sep 15, 3:06 PM

It was a Harvest show that went down as a classic for the people crowding in the Blues tent in 2011. Levon Helm and his great big 13-piece band rolled into Fredericton for the jazz and blues festival, and stole... more »

View all reviews for September 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