Rebranded festival aims to guide emerging musicians on the path to success.
This November, Fredericton’s Charlotte Street Arts Centre will again play host to the former New Brunswick Musicians Emerge (NBME) festival, recently rebranded as Fest Forward and now entering its fifth year mentoring young New Brunswick musicians through a weekend of workshops and performance opportunities.
“The old name sounded more like a series of professional development workshops which it is,” said CSAC’s Kaylee Stevens, “but it’s also a music festival where people can buy a weekend pass and come see performances all weekend long. We want to help promote the festival side of it a little more and I think the name change will help.”
Fest Forward will present musicians with an even wider range of practical knowledge and skills than in previous years, all designed to assist in the potential development of a career in music.
“Fest Forward is still focused on prompting the development of emerging artists but we’re doing it a bit differently this year,” said Stevens. “We’re going to try and set-up a few new things. For one thing, we’re hoping to work with CHSR as a studio to help bands record live-off-the-floor demos or singles or whatever they need, because a lot of the bands that participate don’t have any recorded material yet or at least a recording that represents them properly.”
Outside of recording, participants in this year’s event will also gain essential skills to assist in promoting their efforts on a realistic level, first and foremost. By setting achievable goals like compiling basic yet essential marketing material, Fest Forward organisers plan to help artists create a solid foundation to support further development.
“We’re trying to help the bands compile everything they need to put together a really good EPK (electronic press kit) including high quality recordings, professional photos, a bio, and that kind of thing. Basically, when they finish the weekend they’ll have all the tools they need to start applying for festivals and other opportunities.
“This event has always been very non-industry driven,” said Stevens. “We’re trying to teach real hands-on skills to maximize everyone’s talent and not the means to commercialize their band. That kind of info might be useful down the road but if you’re an emerging musician there are more pressing issues than learning how to book a cross Canada tour or finding a manager. Skills like learning how to write a strong bio that encompasses your band, getting good quality photographs together and even learning how to make a poster are all helpful.”
Fest Forward aims to give artists the tools they need to hit the ground running and is the only festival of its kind in the province. The idea is simple – to help move New Brunswick musicians forward.
The Charlotte Street Arts Centre is now seeking submissions from emerging artists who wish to be showcased in the festival. All musicians and music groups at all levels of emerging are encouraged to apply between July 29, 2015 and August 28, 2015. Late submissions will not be accepted.
To apply, visit www.tinyurl.com/festforward.