Paddlefest Returns for 2021

Category: music 602

Saint Andrews’ longstanding music and outdoor recreation festival has announced plans to move ahead with a reduced capacity event, May 20-23.

Matt Carter
Sadie (Saint John, NB) will perform as part of the 2021 Paddlefest lineup. Photo: Nienke Izurieta

After a year’s hiatus, Paddlefest has announced plans to move ahead with a festival in 2021. Set to take place May 20-23 in Saint Andrews, the four day event will be among the first of New Brunswick’s many music festivals to return to programming this year barring a spike in COVID-19 related infections.

Plans for the 2021 event will involve reduced programming to better adhere to current event regulations with organizers assessing the situation and all announcements from Provincial Public Health and Safety on an ongoing basis. 

“Our team came to a decision that if we could, we would pursue a small version of the festival as we weren’t sure about taking two years off from the festival completely,” said Luke MacDonald, the festival’s artistic director. “We’re lucky that we can scale back certain aspects of our event. This year we’re going back to the festival’s roots in a sense, keeping it very small and locally focused. And while it will certainly look different than recent years, it will still celebrate what the festival always has – art, nature and community.” 

Focusing on small shows in small venues within the community including The Red Herring Pub, Honeybeans Cafe, Kingsbrae Garden, The Huntsman Marine Science Centre and Sunbury Shores Arts & Nature Gallery, the event will also feature a few small outdoor events as well as festival staples like the annual Paddlefest Artist Market. All events –  indoor and outdoor – will operate with reduced capacity, will be set up for social distancing and will require masks, contract tracing, temperature checks and more for all participants. 

Artists announced for the 2021 festival include Julie Aubé, Jessica Rhaye, Mike Trask, Keith Hallett, the Hypos Trio, Kylie Fox, Sadie and more. A special performance by Albert County’s Isaac and Blewett was announced last week and has since sold out. The full list of performers and a tentative schedule can be found on the festival’s website along with complete ticket and pass information. 

“The nice weather is here now, vaccines are rolling out and a slowdown of the pandemic is hopefully in sight for later this year, fingers crossed,” said MacDonald. “These things do give all of us a sense of optimism and we want to carry that optimism into this version of the festival, while being cautious and following regulations put in place for all of our safety. We will of course only move forward with the live aspect of Paddlefest if cases don’t rise significantly and the province stays in an appropriate level of recovery.

“We’re confident we can host a small safe festival this year for those that feel comfortable,” he said. “For those that don’t feel comfortable, we understand, and we hope to see you next year.” 

Additional photo credits:
Annie France Noël (Julie Aubé – Twitter)

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