Fredericton's Perish fest: an autumn arts event to die for

Visual art, improv and more than two dozen bands are on the roster for a weekend of pay-what-you-can fun.

Emerging artists showcase happens Friday and Saturday at various venues in downtown Fredericton

Anna Hovarth from the band Merival plays at Flourish, the spring counterpart to this weekend's Perish fest in Fredericton. (Submitted by Adam Travis)

If Flourish, the annual spring arts festival in Fredericton, is all kitties and flowers and rainbow vibes, then Perish is its darker, autumnal counterpart.

"In spring, we're flourishing," said organizer Jane Blanchard. "In fall, we're perishing."

Blanchard and fellow Frederictonian Stefan Westner are hosting the boutique interdisciplinary showcase of visual art, music and performances on Friday and Saturday.

"It's at the six-month mark since Flourish, so we're having this as a mini partner festival," said Blanchard. "Even in the short time between April and now, more bands have risen up and different iterations of different projects. We're really excited to see them."

Emerging artists' party

More than two dozen bands, including Lina Tullgren, Jon Mckiel, Lydia Mainville, Cellarghost, Jerry-Faye, Klarka Weinwurm, and Sam Salmon & the Grand Manan Bandits will play the Charlotte Street Arts Centre, Bellwether, and the Capital Complex during the fest.

It's being billed as an emerging artists' party — a venue for musicians and performers to get their new, unpolished, edgy material in front of a crowd.

"It's all across the board," said Blanchard. "We have Levi Rowan, who's a 19-year-old emerging rap artist, which is a first for us. We're trying to seek that out a little more and find more genres besides rock and pop."  

They're seeking Fredericton's freshest talent for future festivals.

"I want to find out where all the high school bands are, if there are any," Blanchard said. "That used to be such a huge thing when I was in high school. We're looking for bands, artists, spoken word — whatever the kids are doing these days."

Interesting objects, improv

On Saturday from noon until 7 p.m., the Charlotte Street Arts Centre will host a vendor market and interdisciplinary extravaganza that will include a screening of a new short film about Saint John's Quality Block Party.

"We'll showcase local artists, some amazing, very large-scale drawings and paintings, pottery, textiles, clothing, needlework, and beer from Picaroons," Blanchard said.

Hot Garbage Players, a comedy collective dedicated to long-form improv, will perform at Wilser's Room on Saturday on the theme of "perishing, however they choose to interpret that," Blanchard said.

In the spirit of supporting young and emerging talent, all shows are pay-what-you can. The events at the Charlotte Street Arts Centre and Bellwether are open to all ages.

"It's a friendly, supportive, fun environment," Blanchard said. "We want people to experience new music, projects and art in spaces where they feel comfortable."

We tell artists that as long as they're being socially acceptable, they can come and do their thing."