Fredericton’s mid-winter music festival to include performances by Basia Bulat, Rose Cousins, Justin Rutledge and many more.
Whether we want to admit it or not, winter is just around the corner. Thankfully, New Brunswickers have a well-established tradition of coping strategies that include skiing (for some), snowmobiling (for others), Picaroons’ Winter Warmer (for many) and of course, Shivering Songs (for everyone), the mid-winter music festival that blends comfort in community with some of the best singer/songwriters our region and our country has to offer.
This week, organizers announced the initial lineup for the seventh edition of the festival, which will take place January 19-22, 2017 in downtown Fredericton.
“We’re thrilled to feature so many fixtures of this next generation of the Canadian songwriting tradition,” said Shivering Songs co-organizer Zach Atkinson. “From some of the nation’s most enduring songwriters in Basia Bulat, Rose Cousins and Justin Rutledge, to contemporaries such as Jim Bryson, Donovan Woods and LUKA, and with many more acts to be announced, we truly feel that we hit the nail on the head for 2017.”
Other artists included in this first announcement include Lydia Mainville and festival curators, The Olympic Symphonium.
With each edition of the festival, Shivering Songs skillfully interlaces convention with experimentation bringing together what some may consider to be an unlikely combination of musical offerings that, in the past, has included hip-hop, spoken word, rock, folk and all points in between. This willingness to challenge audiences, while retaining a certain degree of familiarity, is part of what makes the festival such a unique and exciting experience.
“The curation of the festival is geared towards a constant evolution and that involves trying something new or a few things new every year,” said Shivering Songs’ Brendan MaGee. “This has a lot to do with the time of year the festival happens, artist release cycles and that sort of thing as well, but outside of the industry side of it, there is a conscious effort to continue to change and try new things.”
In recent years, the idea of creating unique musical experiences in unlikely spaces has become an important part of the Shivering Songs experience. Last year’s festival included a performance by The Weather Station in the YogaGrow studio above Savage’s Bike Shop. In 2015, audiences were treated to an incredibly intimate performance with Ontario’s Bry Webb and Halifax folk-pop sensation Gabrielle Papillon in the Urban Almanac General Store.
This year’s festival will again include venues new and old.
“We’ll definitely be back at YogaGrow this year, which is great,” said MaGee. “That space provides a very unique way to take in a show and it’s great to invite people who have maybe lived here for years into a small part of the city they’ve never been in.”
“We’re also going to program more in the Fredericton Public Library this year, which is awesome. It’s a beautiful space and there’s a great trend happening with smaller festivals bringing performances into local libraries. I know the Halifax Pop Explosion use the Halifax library as a venue and I’m really excited to use our library simply because it’s beautiful and we love it,” he said.
One significant change to this season’s festival involves the Sunday morning brunch. Following last year’s overwhelmingly popular Grand Ole Opry tribute performance by The Hypochondriacs at Wilser’s Room, organizers have decided to make that showcase Sunday morning’s soundtrack, replacing the familiar sounds of bluegrass with a little classic country that will include several of the festival’s performers and other local musicians familiar to many.
“That particular event with The Hypochondriacs has a whole different energy to it and it’s going to be fantastic to try that out on a Sunday morning,” said MaGee. “We did a smaller version of it last year at Wilser’s Room and it drew the largest crowd for any show I’ve ever seen in that venue. This is the logical progression, moving this show to a larger venue and involving more people from the festival and the local community. We’re really excited to devote more time and a bigger stage to that concept of collaboration.”
“During the kickoff show for Harvest this year, The Hypochondriacs must have played to two or three thousand people and they just killed it. We’re really excited,” he said.
While evolution and change are pillars to the Shivering Songs experience, the festival retains a certain degree of consistency with the historic Wilmot United Church once again playing home to the event’s headlining performances.
“Wilmot will always be our anchor and I would argue that this will be the strongest lineup we’ve had in that venue yet,” said MaGee.
“I’m especially excited to hear Basia Bulat perform there. Her music is just unreal. She writes these songs that are just teeming with emotion and super-fragile but at the same time her voice is so strong and visceral. I think it’s going to be the perfect complement to the beautiful interior of Wilmot United Church.”
Festival passes and tickets are now on sale both online at www.shiveringsongs.com and in person at the Etixnow kiosks at Gray Stone Brewing and Isaac’s Way in Fredericton.
“We’ll have a couple of different pass options this year as well,” said MaGee. “We’ve always had the weekend pass with brunch and the weekend pass without brunch but we’re also offering a combo this year that includes the weekend pass, brunch and a ticket to the Hawksley Workman show that is happening this December at Wilmot United Church. That show’s coming up really soon and is going to be great.”
For more information on the Festival and this year’s artists, please visit www.shiveringsongs.com.
Shivering Songs | January 19-22, 2017 | Downtown Fredericton