New Brunswick

New Pornographers headline Area 506 Festival this summer

With warmer weather apparently on the way, the organizers of the Area 506 Festival have announced a lineup packed with Juno Award-winning bands with the hope of securing the summer plans of New Brunswickers.

July Talk, Arkells, Big Wreck, and Glorious Sons also among bands coming to Saint John

Indie supergroup the New Pornographers round out an impressive list of headliners from across the country. (Last Gang Entertainment)

With warmer weather apparently on the way, the organizers of the Area 506 Festival have announced a lineup packed with Juno Award-winning bands with the hope of securing the summer plans of New Brunswickers. 

In its third year, the New Brunswick Day long weekend festival will feature Arkells, the New Pornographers, July Talk, Big Wreck, and Reuben in the Dark as headliners.

Festival founder and chairperson Ray Gracewood said expectations for big acts have continued to drive booking choices.

Arkells will be among the headliners bringing their boisterous sound to the Area 506 Festival's concert this summer. (CARAS/iPhoto)

With a deep lineup featuring bigger Canadian acts such as Arkells and July Talk, the festival has been able to bring what people want, he said.

"The New Brunswick contingent, I think, is really important too," he said.

Nine bands are from the province, including les Hôtesses d'Hilaire, Olympic Symphonium, the Monoxides, and Tomato/Tomato.

In its first year, the concert brought in between 2,500 and 3,000 people, which Gracewood said involved a little luck. In its second year, the inaugural year's reputation was enough to bring in an additional 2,000 people.

July Talk will be returning to the Area 506 stage as the only repeat headliners this year. (CBC Music)

"Our targets this year, our expectations are that we'll continue to sort of increase on that trend," he said.

Gracewood said the festival wanted to entice people to buy tickets earlier., so this year, it launched pre-early bird tickets,  giving people the opportunity to enjoy the weekend for $89 plus tax.

"That's really to sort of thank the people that really know about the Area 506 experience and want to come back," he said.

Once early tickets run out, a weekend festival pass will cost $119 plus tax, or $79 for a single day ticket.

The highly entertaining Les Hôtesses d'Hilaire from Moncton are on a strong list of New Brunswick bands featured at the concert. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)

While the festival has pushed itself to bring in different acts each year, July Talk will be repeat headliners in 2018.

Gracewood said the band's performance in 2016 was the spark that ignited the concert's reputation.

"It's been the one band that everybody has asked to come back," he said.

 The weekend concert does require a ticket, but Area 506 also features a free container village during the day.

Inside, the festival grounds, everything from New Brunswick culture to Brunswick businesses are shown off with pride. 

The full list of bands announced on Thursday: July Talk, the New Pornographers, Whitehorse, Reuben in the Dark, Arkells, Big Wreck, the Glorious Sons, les Hôtesses d'Hilaire, the Monoxides, Olympic Symphonium, Tomato/Tomato, Tampa, Kill Chicago, the Brent Mason Band, the Tortoise the Hare & the Millionaire, and the Kendra Gale Band

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matthew Bingley is a CBC reporter based in Saint John.

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