Artist Development a Major Focus of the 4th Annual New Brunswick Musicians Emerge Festival.
The Greater Fredericton Area boasts a wide range of music festivals but few are as unique as the NB-ME Festival. Conceived as a means to showcase and nurture some of the province’s young, diverse musical acts, this is a festival with a difference. In addition to the expected live performances, a large part of NB-ME Festival’s mandate is focused specifically on the performers and their experience during the event, which is organized and hosted by the Charlotte Street Arts Centre.
“The focus is really about ensuring that the artistic participants have a real meaningful experience and one that is beneficial to their careers,” said Lisa Anne Ross, director of arts development for the CSAC. “And also, we want the performances to be accessible to the broader public.”
By providing artists with networking opportunities and development workshops, the NB-ME Festival is challenging the standard festival format by presenting artists with more than just a stage to perform on.
“One of our aims is to really build a sense of community over the weekend,” said Ross. “A lot of the artists are coming from across the province and while they all exist at home in their individual communities, we’re hoping to create an atmosphere where they can build new friendships and make new connections with bands in other cities.”
“We’ve been working hard to make sure that we’re offering opportunities that are useful to the performers. Last year we presented a panel led by Tim Rayne from CHSR, with guests from several different funding bodies like Music NB, ArtsNB and the province of New Brunswick.”
According to Ross, the festival is constantly reshaping what it offers performers based on feedback received from previous participants. While last year’s workshops focused largely on funding opportunities for recordings and touring projects, that’s not necessarily something that appeals to all performers.
“This year we’re excited to have Erin Bond leading a workshop on promoting and marketing your music,” said Ross. “She works at CHSR and so she’s kind of on the ground level of indie promotion and marketing. I feel pretty confident that this workshop will hit the button for most of the participants and be really useful to everyone.”
Another unique aspect to the NB-ME Festival is the programming. The festival purposefully chooses a wide range of genres and experience. Past festival performers include The Olympic Symphonium, Motherhood, The Shorty Tubbs and Scotty and the Stars. The NB-ME Festival is really something accessible to everyone playing music.
This year, organizers received over 70 submissions from New Brunswick performers. A panel of city musicians and past participants reviewed all applications and decided on this year’s eight performers.
“It’s pretty amazing to hear the amount of musical talent and the diversity that exists in the province. There’s a little bit of everything out there. We’ve got a really eclectic mix this year including a Celtic group coming from Oromocto, a pop performer from Moncton and some really edgy music as well. We’ll be mixing up all sorts of styles,” said Ross.
And if performances and workshops weren’t enough, the NB-ME Festival also awards prizes to each participating act. Recording sessions, opportunities to perform at other festivals, a Sabian cymbal package, a three city tour sponsored by Picaroons and a major gift certificate to Tony’s Music Box are just a few of the many gifts that will all be handed out the artists at the end of the weekend.
“I think this is going to be a really good year,” said Ross.
The festival has posted a free sampler of music from this year’s performers. Check it out: http://charlottestreet.bandcamp.com/album/nbme-2014-mix#sthash.L4nfjTih.dpuf
The festival offers two showcase performances at the CSAC.
November 14, show beginning 8pm, doors open 7:30pm
November 15, show beginning 8pm, doors open 7:30pm
ADULTS: $10/ night, cash at the door or $15/ festival pass gets you in to both nights.
STUDENTS/ SENIORS/ UNDEREMPLOYED: $7/ night, cash at the door or $10/ festival pass
Festival passes are available at Reads Newsstand on King Street in Fredericton, as well as at the Charlotte Street Arts Centre administrative office in Room 200, 732 Charlotte Street, Fredericton.