A big part of every Harvest Music Festival involves discovering and experiencing new performers on stage. With this in mind, we’ve picked five 2023 Harvest performers and artists you should definitely get to know.
The cat’s out of the bag. This year’s Harvest Music Festival lineup was announced this morning and as always, it’s looking like another exciting festival awaits us all this coming September. As with each new programming announcement from New Brunswick’s largest annual music festival, Harvest’s 2023 lineup mixes several new and returning international touring acts with some of the best local and regional performers from across Atlantic Canada.
The big names need little introduction. Phish frontman Trey Anastasio and Classic TAB are this year’s marquee headliner, followed closely by Gov’t Mule, Daniel Lanois, Big Sugar, Stars, and Broken Social Scene, who will be returning to the East Coast for the first time since 2006 when they performed as part of Juno Awards Week in Halifax.
While Big Name acts generate instant appeal and recognition for any music festival, a big part of every Harvest experience involves discovering new bands, those whose names and music might be unfamiliar in the Spring but go on to become regulars on our playlists and in some cases, future Harvest headliners.
Longtime Harvest Music Director Brent Staeben has been booking acts for the festival for more than two decades. Responsible for helping bring some of the biggest names in music to the province, a large part of Staeben’s role with the festival includes choosing performers who might be unfamiliar to regional audiences prior to their arrival in the city.
“Part of the magic of Harvest is introducing new acts to our audiences that they might never have heard of, and the goal is really to set their souls on fire and create some new deeper connections between them and the band,” said Staeben. “When I think of The Revivalists, JJ Grey, The Record Company – these are all bands that have created serious connections with the Harvest audience, and so each year we set out with the goal to see if we can find and include that kind of band in the schedule.”
When reaching outside the box to find the next Harvest favourite, Staeben says he is always looking for artists who embody two defining traits: a passion for their audience and a passion for their music.
“You know it when you see it,” he said. “That kind of energy onstage helps create that synergistic connection between performer and audience and it’s special to see. There are a lot of new acts this year, and there’s always a risk when you’re introducing new acts. But when you’re confident that the quality is there and the passion is there, you know you’re making the right move.”
With this in mind, here are five 2023 Harvest performers/artists you should definitely get to know.
Allison Russell is a Canadian singer-songwriter and three-time Grammy nominee. Well known in folk circles as a member of Po’ Girl, a group she co-founded in 2003 with Trish Klein of The Be Good Tanyas, Russell released her debut solo album, Outside Child, in 2021. The album garnered international attention and went on to receive three Grammy Award nominations including Best Americana Album.
Oji-Cree singer-songwriter Aysanabee is a member of the Sandy Lake First Nation. He released his debut album, Watin, in 2022 and was nominated for Contemporary Indigenous Artist of the Year at the 2023 Juno Awards. Aysanabee performed nearly 100 shows last year at major festivals and venues across the country and across the ocean including Ottawa Bluesfest, Montreal Jazzfest, and Mariposa to name a few.
Canadian blues and country music artist Crystal Shawanda was born in Wiikwemkoong First Nation. She signed with RCA Nashville in 2007 and has toured Canada and the United States with Brad Paisley and Dierks Bentley. Shawanda is a powerhouse vocalist and a Juno Award winner whose full-throttle raspy voice is unmatched in today’s musical landscape.
After amassing over 4+ billion global streams (you read that correctly!), 60+ international certifications, countless sold-out headlining shows, appearances at such noteworthy festivals as Coachella, Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo plus a direct support slot opening for Rock & Roll Hall of Famers, the Rolling Stones, Grammy nominated, Icelandic rockers, KALEO, have proven to be a worldwide phenomenon and are one of the most anticipated acts on this year’s Harvest lineup.
Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue
Trombone Shorty (Troy Andrews) has worked with some of the biggest names in rock, pop, jazz, funk, and hip hop including Lenny Kravitz, Aerosmith, U2, Green Day, Maceo Parker, Rebirth Brass Band, Jeff Beck, Warren Haynes, Stanton Moore, Madonna and Queen Latifah! Somewhere between live appearances and studio contributions to the who’s who of popular music, Andrews has led his own band Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue since 2009.
Harvest Music Festival takes place September 12-17.
Harvest tickets and passes will go on sale April 20 at 11 am A.S.T. Both tickets and passes can be purchased online through Ticketpro.ca or by calling 1-888-311-9090. Please note that tickets and passes are only available for purchase through Ticketpro.