Wed, Jun 26, 2013.
There has been a lot of grumbling this year about the lack of a major concert in the province this summer. Magnetic Hill, the site that's presented The Rolling Stones, U2, Bruce Springsteen and several others over the years, is quiet this season. For the thousands of people here, and the thousands that have attended from other provinces and even the U.S. along the way, yes, it's a disappointment, and maybe some made up for it with a trip to see Sting on P.E.I. But as I look at the concert calender over the next few days, well, New Brunswick looks pretty impressive, with outdoor festivals, indoor shows by a couple of major league international talents, and of course, the annual Canada Day events in your home town, almost all of them featuring music of some sort. So quit that grumbling about the big picture shows, and check out the smaller but no less impressive tickets.
This is the weekend of the annual Feels Good Folly Fest, in its regular spot in beautiful Gagetown, now in its fifth year. Folly Fest has grown each year, and has established its reputation as a great time, family and camping-friendly event, and lots of youthful energy. It runs Friday to Sunday, and they have expanded from three to four stages, so you can choose between electronica, acoustic, bigger names or just jumping around and having fun. There are over 80 different performances, I can't name them all, but here are some of the folks you'll recognize: David Myles, Old Man Luedecke, Grand Theft Bus, Keith Hallett, Wintersleep, Modern Grass, Olympic Symphonium, Acres & Acres, Shad and many more. And here's the really fun addition this year: It's called the Silent Storm, which is a big dance party with a difference, late at night. Instead of keeping the campers and the neighbours up until 2 AM with pounding dance music, they won't hear a thing, because it's a personal party going on. Everybody gets wireless headphones, with DJ's sending out the same sounds to all the dancers, they groove away, but its eerily silent if you aren't wearing the wires. I'd actually like to go watch that...just watch.
Canada Day offers up lots of different performances, and free of course, thanks to your local municipality. Fredericton always has a big event down town, bigger this year because there are now two stages, in Officers Square and The Barracks, where you can see the likes of Slowcoaster, Keith Hallett, Gabriel Minnikin, Kathleen Gorey-McSorley and more. Moncton's Main Street gets shut down with the stage in front of City Hall, where you can hear Colin James, Tim Chaisson, Monique Poirier and lots of others. And in Saint John, you can catch such folks as Irish Mythen, Shrimp Daddy, Acres & Acres, and the tremendous string group The Fretless along the board walk.
And finally, two of my very favourite artists of all time are heading here, both performers I've seen before and can heartily recommend. We have Rosanne Cash, the country hit maker, and talented singer-songwriter. Cash is playing an acoustic set with her husband and producer, John Levanthal joining on guitar. She's at the Capitol Theatre in Moncton on July fifth, and the Playhouse in Fredericton July sixth, with New Brunswick's own Thom Swift opening. Then there's the great Lyle Lovett from Texas, another of the truly excellent roots music writers of these days. He's at the New Brunswick Casino in Moncton, for what's billed as Lyle Lovett and his Acoustic Group, which sounds fun. That's next Wednesday, July third.
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Bob 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).