Fredericton’s spring music and arts festival to welcome more than 70 musicians and visual artists to the province for 4th annual event.
Festival season starts early in New Brunswick, or maybe it never really ends. With another edition of Shivering Songs now complete, music and art lovers from around the region (and beyond) can now set their sights on Flourish, a four-day feast of visual and performing arts set to take place April 19-22 in Fredericton.
The festival was initially conceived as a school project by musician Jane Blanchard while attending the University of New Brunswick’s Renaissance College in 2015 and has since become an annual event attracting artists and musicians from across Canada and the United States.
“Flourish started in response to a community need for an interdisciplinary art and music festival, and specifically one that would take place in the spring,” said Blanchard.
“I think Flourish has grown to become an important staple in the New Brunswick festival scene,” she said. “Spring is an important time for artists and musicians. You see a lot of album releases, tours, and new projects emerging in the spring time. Flourish is a great time to showcase these new projects, grow, develop and collaborate. We remain artist-run and independent. We have stuck to our DIY roots and continue to love and support local artists on all levels.”
The festival’s 2018 lineup brings together live music, theatre and comedy, art exhibitions and instillations by musicians and artists from Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Quebec and Ontario, as well as many current and former New Brunswick-based performers including Cedric Noel, Property//, and LAPS.
“I think for a lot of artists originally from Fredericton who have moved away in the past few years, Flourish Festival is a kind of homecoming,” said Blanchard. “It’s always a really special time with lots of hugs and maybe a few tears.”
Part of what makes Flourish unique among other festivals on the Eastern Canadian circuit is the way organizers combine visual art and music, often showcasing both at the same time. At Flourish, it’s not uncommon to see a familiar venue transformed into an entirely new and unique setting with art installations, lighting or projections working to shape the performance environment.
“We’ve always tried hard to present the artwork on an equal footing with the music, and to avoid having it feel like a music festival with art shoehorned in,” said Flourish co-founder Stefan Westner. “What’s been exciting to watch is how the diverse installations and stage backdrops seem to grow into a unified whole that root the entire festival in time and place. It seems every year the artists involved get more ambitious and I can’t wait to present (and see) their work!”
Each fall organizers put out a call for submissions/applications with an eye toward programming an event that highlights diversity in music and artistic discipline and gender equality. Applications for the 2018 festival closed on November 1 and once again, the Flourish team were met with an overwhelming number of submissions.
“I think Flourish grows more and more every year due to the enthusiasm of all of those involved,” said Blanchard. “We are thrilled how many more ideas, projects and applicants we get each year. All of these new projects grow the festival and make each year unique. We aim to create a wonderful weekend full of music and art experiences that are enjoyable, thought-provoking and inspiring.”
After establishing a constantly high level of programming over the past three years, Flourish now receives support from the City of Fredericton, Downtown Fredericton, the Government of New Brunswick, Canada Council for the Arts, The Government of Canada, SOCAN, and numerous local businesses throughout Fredericton including Picaroons Traditional Ales, The Capital Complex, Shiftwork Studio, and many others.
Flourish 2018 Lineup:
Belia | Kurtis Eugene | The Olympic Symphonium | Hot Garbage Players | Jane Blanchard | Construction Deconstruction | Strangerfamiliar | Russell Louder | Kendra Gale | Yess Woah | Carinae | Property// | Woodpainting | Victime | Laps | Scumlord | Margret | Valery Vaughn | Loveover | Graeme Kennedy | Saxsyndrum | The Brood | Liken | Alexia Avenia | Innes Wilson | High Street Boys | Her Harbour | Mal Aime | Cedric Noel | Healthy Habitat (Installation By Robin Goodine & Indigo Porier) | Klarka Weinwurm | Lonely Parade | The Famines | Whoop-Szo | Motherhood | Justin Wright | Corey Gulkin | The Hypochondriacs | Patrick Allaby | Brookside Mall | Pallice | Best Fern | BA Johnson | Calm Baretta | Subtle | David In The Dark | Wangled Tebb | Kylie Fox | Brent Mason | Jerry-Faye | Ada Lea | Rosalie H. Maheux | Phoebe Marmura Brown | Platitudes | Robin Goodine | Erin Goodine | Stefan Westner | Shiftwork Collective | plus collaborations with the Pentagon Black Compilation series and Third Space Gallery & more!